Photo: Steven Ferdman/WireImage
President Trump on Thursday filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling compelling his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA to turn over his tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney.
Why it matters: The request, which was expected, marks a significant escalation of the president's fight to stop prosecutors and Congress from obtaining his financial records — one that will test the limits of Trump's argument that he is immune from criminal investigation while in office.
The backdrop: The legal fight over Trump's tax returns started in August when Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. subpoenaed Mazars as part of a criminal investigation into allegations that the Trump Organization made hush money payments during the 2016 presidential election to two women who had affairs with Trump.
- Vance requested the president's tax returns and those of his family business dating back to 2011.
- Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, is currently serving out a three-year sentence for campaign finance violations for making a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels and a $150,000 payment to Playboy model Karen McDougal on the condition that they did not reveal their past relationships with Trump.
- Vance is investigating whether the Trump Organization falsely listed its reimbursement of Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Daniels as a legal expense.
The big picture: Trump has filed at least three lawsuits to block the release of his tax returns. The president, his family and his company also filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank to block the bank from complying with congressional subpoenas for their business records.
What they're saying:
"We have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Second Circuit decision regarding a subpoena issued by the New York County District Attorney. The Second Circuit decision is wrong and should be reversed. In our petition, we assert that the subpoena violates the U.S. Constitution and therefore is unenforceable. We are hoping that the Supreme Court will grant review in this significant constitutional case and reverse the dangerous and damaging decision of the appeals court."— Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow