Update (0925ET): Well that didn’t take long. As expected, President Trump’s legal team has, according to Reuters, filed an emergency appeal, sending the decision, we suspect, down the path towards a final showdown at the Supreme Court.
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A month after the Manhattan district attorney subpoenaed President Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for his personal and corporate returns dating to 2011, The New York Times reports that Judge Victor Marrero of Manhattan federal court has just rejected Trump’s legal team’s argument that sitting presidents are immune from criminal investigations.
This decision allows the Manhattan D.A.’s office to subpoena eight years of the president’s personal and corporate tax returns.
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.
The president’s lawyers have called the investigation by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, politically motivated. Mr. Vance has accused the president and his team of trying to run out the clock on the investigation.
In his 75-page ruling, Judge Marrero called the President’s legal argument “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values,” adding that Presidents, their families, and businesses are not above the law.”
Doesn’t sound very “political” at all, eh?
Notably, this decision comes after reports over the weekend that an IRS whistleblower had emerged, saying there were improprieties with Trump’s audit process.
A government whistleblower is alleging “inappropriate efforts to influence” the mandatory IRS audit program that’s checking the tax returns of President Trump and Vice President Pence.
The chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, Representative Richard Neal, D-Mass., says the panel on July 29 received “an unsolicited communication from a Federal employee setting forth credible allegations of ‘evidence of possible misconduct’ – specifically, potential ‘inappropriate efforts to influence’ the mandatory audit program.”
An appeal of the decision is expected, and as NYTimes notes, based on the previous temporary deal reached last month, Trump has until 1pm today to appeal the decision “to seek relief from the Second Circuit before Mazars discloses his confidential information.”
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… yet!