Feb 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for Manhattan prosecutors to subpoena Trump's taxes

Trump golfing

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an effort by former President Trump's lawyers to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from enforcing a subpoena for eight years of his personal and financial tax returns.

Why it matters: It was the last legal hurdle in the former president's long-running battle to shield his tax returns from prosecutors — and the second time the Supreme Court has dealt Trump a defeat in the case.

The big picture: Vance first subpoenaed Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA in 2019 as part of a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, which began as a probe into hush-money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.

  • The New York Times reports that the investigation has intensified in recent months and that prosecutors are now examining potential tax and bank-related fraud.
  • Trump has denied any wrongdoing, attacking the investigation by Vance as a political "witch hunt."

Between the lines: Trump had previously asserted that he had "absolute immunity" from criminal investigation as president and that Vance had no legal authority to subpoena records from his banks and accounting firms.

  • The Supreme Court rejected that sweeping claim in July 2020, but sent the case back down to lower courts to allow Trump's lawyers to challenge the subpoena for other reasons.
  • Trump's lawyers then claimed that Vance's subpoena was overbroad and amounted to political harassment — an argument that was rejected by an appeals court in October and brought back to the Supreme Court for the second time.

What they're saying: "The work continues," Vance tweeted Monday morning, minutes after the Supreme Court's decision to deny Trump's request for a stay.

The other side: Trump issued a lengthy statement hours later in which he railed against the Supreme Court and Vance, accusing the district attorney of a "fishing expedition" intended to silence the Americans who voted for him.

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