Years after he should’ve voluntarily shared his tax returns with the American people, like every single other president before him, Donald Trump has lost a key court battle in federal court. In a 75-page ruling, Judge Victor Marrero sided with Manhattan prosecutors who are seeking Donald Trump’s tax returns as part of the investigation into the hush money paid to Stormy Daniels by Michael Cohen, funds that were eventually reimbursed by Donald Trump and/or the Trump Organization. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is investigating whether executives at the Trump Organization may have falsified business records related to the hush money payment.
Trump’s attorneys tried to make a case that presidents are immune from criminal investigations, even at the state level. If that sounds ridiculous, it is! Trump’s attorneys are basically arguing the president is above the law and even above investigation. Judge Marrero called Trump’s legal argument “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”
As if that legal argument weren’t enough, Trump’s attorneys basically forced Judge Marrero to rule Monday morning, saying that if he didn’t, they would interpret his inaction as they wished and move on it. From The New York Times:
“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.
It was a bold stance for Trump’s lawyers to take, and it seems Judge Marrero wasn’t impressed.
Judge Marrero ordered Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, to turn over tax returns dating back to 2011. Donald Trump isn’t the only person who should be sweating this decision; Donald Trump Jr. was also allegedly involved in the hush money payment.
The clock is ticking for Donald Trump. His accounting firm may have to start handing over the returns as early as today. From Bloomberg:
The president filed an emergency appeal with a federal appeals court. Unless he can win a delay by a 1 p.m. deadline previously agreed to by his lawyers, Vance may soon start receiving at least some of the material. But Trump may also have another avenue open to him if he pursues a separate lawsuit in state court, which is where the judge said the case should have been brought in the first place.
The 2nd Circuit wasted no time in issuing a temporary stay for Trump’s tax returns. Doesn’t seem likely they will be released today.