WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for New York prosecutors to obtain eight years of financial records from the accountants and bankers of former President Donald Trump as part of a criminal fraud and tax investigation involving him and the Trump Organization.
Trump faces possible criminal and civil charges on several fronts, but the New York investigation of his business dealings has moved further than any of the other probes.
Without a comment or dissent, the justices issued a one-line order saying they had denied Trump's request to block enforcement of subpoenas from the grand jury in New York.
His lawyers had urged the court to block the subpoenas on the grounds they were overly broad and politically motivated.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has not revealed what the grand jury is investigating, but in court filings his office said it was looking into potential "protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization."
Shortly after the court issued its order, Vance tweeted: "The work continues."
Trump condemned the decision Monday.
"The Supreme Court never should have let this 'fishing expedition' happen, but they did," he said in a statement. "This is something which has never happened to a president before, it is all Democrat-inspired in a totally Democrat location, New York City and state."
Michael Cohen, a former lawyer and fixer who worked for the former president, testified that Trump regularly inflated the value of his holdings when he was seeking loans and deflated the value of the same assets to lower his taxes. Making false statements on loan documents or tax filings can be prosecuted as fraud.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen said, he also arranged hush-money payments to two women who had affairs with Trump.
When challenging the subpoenas, Trump had lost before federal judges and U.S. appeals courts in New York and Washington, D.C., but he repeatedly won rulings from the Supreme Court to temporarily block the subpoenas from being honored.
Monday's order on Trump's taxes did nothing to resolve the mystery of why the justices waited five months before acting on his final appeal in the case. It's possible they wanted to wait until his term as president had ended.
In July, the justices rejected Trump's broad claim that a president is immune from a criminal investigation. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. spoke for the court and reaffirmed the principle that no person, including the president, is above the law and beyond the reach of a grand jury investigation.