A federal judge has rejected President Trump’s argument that he does not have to turn over his tax returns, ordering him to turn over the past 8 years of his records.
Judge Victor Marrero ruled on Monday that, while the Consitution and the Justice Department prevents a sitting president from being charged with a crime, it does not prevent the president from being investigated for committing a crime. And thus, Trump is legally obligated to respond to subpoenas for his tax records.
The Associated Press reports the judge called Trump’s resistance to the subpoena “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.” He also clarified that he could not endorse a “categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity.”
Marrero called Trump’s action “extraordinary” and “an overreach of executive power.”
“As the court reads it, presidential immunity would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings, including investigations, grand jury proceedings and subpoenas, indictment, prosecution, arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration,” the judge wrote, per the report. “That constitutional protection presumably would encompass any conduct, at any time, in any forum, whether federal or state, and whether the President acted alone or in concert with other individuals.”
According to the Associated Press, Trump’s attorneys immediately appealed the decision to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision to appeal the judge’s ruling means the tax returns are unlikely to be handed over.
From the report:
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat, asked Trump’s accounting firm to turn over his business and personal tax returns as part of an investigation of the Trump Organization’s involvement in buying the silence of two women who claimed to have had affairs with the president.
Trump’s lawyers have said the investigation is politically motivated and the request for his tax records should be stopped because he is immune from any criminal probe as long as he is president.
Vance began his probe after federal prosecutors in Manhattan completed their investigation into payments that Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, arranged to be paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal to keep them silent during the presidential race. The Trump Organization later reimbursed Cohen.