DONALD Trump may be forced to reveal his financial records to US investigators today, in what observers are saying could be a dramatic political ruling that would affect the president’s bid for re-election.
The US Supreme Court will make its decision on whether Mr Trump will have to reveal his financial records, including his tax returns, today.
Reports claim the decision could change the balance of power between the president and US lawmakers in a historic way.
Trump is now months into a presidential campaign where polls show public opinion in his favour is already sliding.
Observers say the court’s decisions are long-awaited, and follow at least two cases involving the president’s finances in May.
According to the Daily Mail, the two cases involve subpoenas – a request for an individual or an institution to present documents or other evidence to a court.
One such case involves Mazars USA, an accounting firm that was issued subpoenas by the US House Oversight Committee to disclose Mr Trump’s financial records.
The Supreme Court must decide today whether the House has the power to issue such orders.
If the Court decides the House does have this power, then observers say Mr Trump faces a great political risk in having private information about his wealth revealed.
And US research organisation the Brookings Institution suggests there could even be a “criminal indictment” against Mr Trump, the Daily Mail adds.
In addition to the Mazars case, a prosecutor in Manhattan, New York, has also issued subpoenas demanding similar financial records to be released.
These are allegedly linked to the tax practices of Mr Trump’s huge business empire.
Mr Trump has sent personal lawyers to argue against the orders to reveal his financial details to the public – managing to block them so far.
But while analysts predict today’s court ruling could have serious implications for the president and his re-election prospects, reports also state they will also set precedents for the ability of US prosecutors to investigate a president for potential criminal acts.
According to Politico, the rulings will essentially be looking at whether third-party firms such as Mazars can be ordered to produce private documents relating to a president in office.
Some analysts are even comparing the situation to the landmark Watergate scandal of the 1970s, which revealed multiple abuses of power by then-president Nixon.
If the court rules against Mr Trump today, then it will not be the first time the president has been stung by US lawmakers in recent weeks.
In June, Mr Trump was hit by a Supreme Court defeat after blocked the president’s move to take away the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme.
This was an Obama-era policy which aimed to protect young people from being deported from the US if they had entered the country without documentation as children.
According to the BBC, the policy protects roughly 650,000 people currently, though the American Immigration Council puts that figure even higher.
In response to the Supreme Court’s blocking of Mr Trump’s efforts to rescind the policy, the president wrote on Twitter the decisions were “shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives”.