Aug 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Judge throws out Trump's effort to block subpoena for financial records

Donald Trump
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit from President Trump that sought to block Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's subpoena for his financial records.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court ruled last month that presidents are not immune from investigation, denying Trump the sweeping grant of presidential power he had asked for. The court gave Vance the right to access records from Trump's financial institutions as part of a criminal investigation, but sent the case back down to the lower courts so that Trump's lawyers could continue to fight the subpoena.

Between the lines: In a disclosure earlier this month, the DA's office suggested for the first time that it's investigating Trump and his company for "alleged bank and insurance fraud."

  • The filing pointed to media reports about "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization" to support Vance's argument about the legitimacy of the subpoena, which Trump's lawyers had argued was over-broad and issued in bad faith.
  • Previously, Vance was only thought to be investigating hush money payments that Trump made to women he allegedly had affairs with through his former personal attorney Michael Cohen.

What they're saying: U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero, who had previously rebuked Trump's claims of "absolute immunity" in a ruling prior to the Supreme Court case, again skewered the case argued by the president's lawyers as "perilous to the rule of law."

  • "They declared that under their theory of temporary absolute immunity, even if the President (presumably any president) while in office were to shoot a person in the middle of New York’s Fifth Avenue, he or she would be shielded from law enforcement investigations and judicial proceedings of any kind, federal or state, until the expiration of the President’s term," Marrero wrote.
  • "As this Court suggested in its earlier ruling in this litigation, that notion, applied as so robustly proclaimed by the President’s advocates, is as unprecedented and far-reaching as it is perilous to the rule of law and other bedrock constitutional principles on which this country was founded and by which it continues to be governed."

What's next: Trump's lawyers will appeal the ruling, according to Bloomberg.

Read the ruling.

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