Federal court orders Trump tax records turned over to Manhattan DA (Updated)

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The New York Times reports, Trump Ordered to Turn Over 8 Years of Tax Returns to the Manhattan D.A.:

A federal judge on Monday rejected a bold argument from President Trump that sitting presidents are immune from criminal investigations, allowing the Manhattan district attorney’s office to subpoena eight years of the president’s personal and corporate tax returns.

Lawyers for Mr. Trump were expected to appeal the ruling from Judge Victor Marrero of Manhattan federal court. But of course he will.

The judge’s decision came a little more than a month after the Manhattan district attorney subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for his personal and corporate returns dating to 2011. The demand touched off a legal showdown that raised new constitutional questions and drew in the Justice Department, which supported the president’s request to delay enforcement of the subpoena.

The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., has been investigating whether any New York State laws were broken when Mr. Trump and his company reimbursed the president’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, for payments he made in the run-up to the 2016 election to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who had said she had an affair with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers sued last month to block the subpoena, arguing that the Constitution effectively makes sitting presidents immune from all criminal inquiries until they leave the White House. The lawyers acknowledged that their argument had not been tested in courts, but said the release of the president’s tax returns would cause him “irreparable harm.”

Only because he will be exposed as a fraud who has committed financial crimes.

Mr. Vance’s office asked Judge Marrero to dismiss Mr. Trump’s suit, saying a grand jury had a right to “pursue its investigation free from interference and litigious delay” and rejecting his claim to blanket immunity. The judge was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

UPDATE: Buzzfeed News adds:

US District Judge Victor Marrero dismissed Trump’s lawsuit challenging a grand jury subpoena issued by New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance. He wrote that Trump’s argument for complete presidential immunity from a criminal investigation was “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional value.”

“Bared to its core, the proposition the president advances reduces to the very notion that the founders rejected at the inception of the republic, and that the Supreme Court has since unequivocally repudiated: that a constitutional domain exists in this country in which not only the president, but, derivatively, relatives and persons and business entities associated with him in potentially unlawful private activities, are in fact above the law,” Marrero wrote.

UPDATE: The full 75-page ruling is here (pdf).

Last week, lawyers with Mr. Trump’s “Injustice” Department jumped into the fray, asking the judge to temporarily block the subpoena while the court takes time to consider the “significant constitutional issues” in the case.

The “Injustice” Department, led by Attorney General William “Coverup” Barr, did not say whether it agreed with Mr. Trump’s position that presidents cannot be investigated. But, citing the constitutional questions, the department said it wanted to provide its views.

The Constitution does not explicitly say whether presidents can be charged with a crime while in office, and the Supreme Court has not answered the question.

Federal prosecutors are barred from charging a sitting president with a crime only because the Justice Department has decided that presidents have temporary immunity while they are in office.

But in the past, that position has not precluded investigating a president. Presidents, including Mr. Trump, have been subjects of federal criminal investigations while in office. Local prosecutors, such as Mr. Vance, are also not bound by the Justice Department’s position.

As part of a temporary deal reached last month, Mr. Vance’s office agreed not to enforce the subpoena until two days after Judge Marrero issued a ruling, which would give Mr. Trump a chance to appeal if he lost. But that agreement was to expire at 1 p.m. on Monday.

Writing to the judge late on Friday, William S. Consovoy, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, all but demanded that judge rule early on Monday in order that there be time to appeal before the afternoon deadline.

“After 9 a.m.,” Mr. Trump’s lawyer wrote, “the president will not have enough time to seek relief from the Second Circuit before Mazars discloses his confidential information.”

Mr. Consovoy said that if no ruling came by 9 a.m. on Monday, the president would interpret the judge’s inaction as a denial of his request to block the subpoena, and he would appeal without waiting for a court decision.

On to the Second Circuit, which should uphold the district court ruling. Since this is a procedural action over enforcement of a subpoena, it should be resolved fairly quickly.

UPDATE: The notice of appeal has been filed, and the 2nd Circuit has granted the stay requested by Trump’s lawyers to delay enforcement of the subpoena until the 2nd Circuit has ruled on the matter.




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