Chief justice orders delay in House fight for Trump records

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Donald Trump

President Donald Trump speaks during an event on healthcare prices in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts is ordering an indefinite delay in the House of Representatives’ demand for President Donald Trump’s financial records to give the Supreme Court time to figure out how to handle the high-stakes dispute.

Roberts’ order Monday contains no hint about what the court ultimately will do.

The court’s hold could last a matter of days or weeks, if the court is willing to let an appeals court ruling in favor of the House remain in place without granting full review of the case. But the delay could extend for months if the justices decide they need to hear arguments and issue a written opinion.

Earlier Monday, the House said it would agree to a brief halt for the orderly filing of legal briefs, while opposing any lengthy delay. Those written arguments will give the justices a basis to decide whether they will jump into the tussle between Congress and the president.

Last week, Trump made an emergency appeal to ask the Supreme Court to block the enforcement of a subpoena issued by a House committee to Trump’s accountants. The House has until Thursday to respond, Roberts said.

The high court has a separate pending request from Trump to block a subpoena from a New York prosecutor for Trump’s tax returns.

The justices next meet in private on Friday and could discuss what to do with the House subpoena. Without some intervention by the high court, a ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., in favor of the House was set to take effect Wednesday.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform would have been able to try to enforce the subpoena to the Mazars USA accounting firm.

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