WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that would have required President Donald Trump to turn over some of his financial records to a Democratic-led committee in the House of Representatives.
Trump, in two conflicts with opposition lawmakers and prosecutors investigating his finances, has sought to shield disclosure of his personal and business affairs. He is only the second U.S. leader in the last four decades to refuse to make his tax returns public.
Last week, a federal appellate court in Washington refused to rehear a ruling from a divided three-judge panel that Trump's accounting firm, Mazars, must turn over eight years of Trump's financial records.
But Trump appealed and the Supreme Court, at least for the moment, blocked the need for Mazars to comply with the lower court ruling to turn over the documents.
The order issued by Chief Justice John Roberts did not indicate whether the court ultimately plans to hear Trump's appeal. The Roberts order puts the lower court ruling on hold while the nine Supreme Court justices decide how to proceed.
In separate litigation, Trump has asked the Supreme Court to bar turning over the Mazars financial records to prosecutors in New York who are investigating the president's business deals.
The case could eventually result in a major decision on the extent of presidential immunity from criminal prosecution.
Trump's lawyers have argued that as long as Trump remains in office he is immune from criminal proceedings and investigations.
"That the Constitution would empower thousands of state and local prosecutors to embroil the president in criminal proceedings is unimaginable," Trump's lawyers argued.
The accounting firm has said that it will turn over the documents the prosecutors want if Trump loses the case.