The US Supreme Court will hear three cases next year over the release of President Trump’s tax records, meaning the court will be making high-profile decisions on some of Mr Trump’s closely-held secrets in the middle of the 2020 presidential campaign.
Mr Trump has been seeking to block access to his tax returns and other financial records in lawsuits involving New York prosecutors and the House of Representatives.
US courts have ruled that Mr Trump must turn over the records but lawyers for the president have appealed to the nation’s highest court, arguing that as president he has blanket immunity.
The Supreme Court – where conservative judges are in the majority – said it will hear arguments during the March session with a ruling to be issued before the session closes at the end of June.
Mr Trump is the first American president since Richard Nixon not to make his tax returns public, claiming that they are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service.
Democrats in the House of Representatives have turned to the courts to force the release of the tax returns and other records in two cases that are considered a crucial test of the separation of powers. They will have to consider Trump’s arguments that the subpoenas are a threat to the presidency, on the one hand, and the need for lawmakers or prosecutors for information to pursue legislation or criminal investigations on the other.
Democratic leaders in the House expressed disappointment that the justices’ decision to hear the cases will result in further delay.
"Unfortunately, the American people will now have to wait several more months for final rulings," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "We are confident that the Supreme Court … will uphold the Constitution, the rulings of the lower courts and ensure that Congressional oversight can proceed."
Cyrus Vance Jr, the Manhattan District Attorney, has demanded to see Trump’s tax returns dating back to 2011 as part of an investigation into payments made by Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney, to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who claimed to have had a sexual liaison with Mr Trump before he ran for president in 2016.
A federal appeals court ruled that Mr Trump must hand over the documents but the president’s attorneys appealed, arguing that he enjoys immunity from both prosecution and investigation.