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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.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Feb 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump to claim total control of GOP

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

In his first post-presidential appearance, Donald Trump plans to send the message next weekend that he is Republicans' "presumptive 2024 nominee" with a vise grip on the party's base, top Trump allies tell Axios.

What to watch: A longtime adviser called Trump's speech a "show of force," and said the message will be: "I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I'm still in charge." Payback is his chief obsession.

Updated Feb 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Merrick Garland vows to lead Capitol riot prosecutions if confirmed AG

Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, in Wilmington, Delaware in January. Photo:y Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland will pledge to take the lead in prosecuting those charged over the U.S. Capitol siege and vow prosecutorial independence from President Biden at his confirmation hearing Monday.

Why it matters: As attorney general, Judge Garland would oversee politically sensitive cases, including investigations into the taxes of the president's son Hunter Biden and the origins of the probe into former President Trump's dealings with Russia.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).