Trump tax returns in arms of Manhattan district lawyer
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he departs for Minnesota from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, United States, on October 10, 2019.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Former President Donald Trump’s tax records were turned over to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. after the Supreme Court rejected the ex-President’s recent efforts to keep the documents safe.
A Vance spokesman Danny Frost confirmed that a subpoena against Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA was passed on Monday, hours after the country’s highest court dismissed Trump’s appeal.
The subpoena requested Trump’s 2011 personal and company records, including his tax returns. Trump defied modern precedent by refusing to make his tax returns available to the public despite running two campaigns for the presidency.
A spokesman for the former president did not immediately comment on Thursday. After the court allowed the rendition, Trump promised to “keep fighting” and said Vance was pursuing a “fishing expedition.”
The long-term investigation was closely monitored. Early reports suggested that prosecutors were looking into hush money payments made on Trump’s behalf to women allegedly linked to the real estate tycoon. Trump denied the affairs.
Recent court records have revealed that Vance may be investigating Trump and his company of the same name, The Trump Organization, for possible banking and insurance fraud. Trump has repeatedly denied allegations of financial inappropriateness and accused investigators of partisan motives.
The dispute over Trump’s tax documents reached the Supreme Court twice. On both occasions the panel refused to stop the lower court’s decisions on Vance’s side. In July, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a statement for a 7-2 court rejecting Trump’s sweeping argument that he was immune to state criminal investigations during his tenure.
“In our judicial system, the public has a right to any man’s evidence.” Since the earliest days of the Republic, “every man” has included the President of the United States, “said Roberts, who was appointed to court by then-President George W. Bush.
After this decision, Trump’s lawyers continued to fight the subpoena on the grounds that it was too broad and badly issued, but the lower courts denied these claims. In October, Trump’s attorneys again called on the Supreme Court to intervene, but the court wrote in a one-line order on Monday that it was not.
Vance’s possession of Trump’s tax records does not guarantee that the public will ever know what they contain. The recordings were obtained in connection with a grand jury investigation and New York State law requires that the grand jury proceedings be confidential. It’s likely that the public will only be able to see the records if Vance ultimately charges and includes portions of the records in billing documents.