On Thursday, President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court reverse a lower court ruling that directed his longtime accounting firm to hand over eight years of his tax returns to New York prosecutors.
Trump appealed a November 4 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that prosecutors can enforce a subpoena demanding his personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018 from accounting firm Mazars LLP.
Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s lawyers said that “In our petition, we assert that the subpoena violates the U.S. Constitution and therefore is unenforceable. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant review in this significant constitutional case and reverse the dangerous and damaging decision of the appeals court.”
Now there is a legal question whether the subpoena violates the part of the U.S. Constitution that lays out the power of the president. The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is seeking the returns as part of a criminal investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization, the president’s family real estate business.
The lawyers of Trump said that he cannot be subjected to any criminal process while he remains president, a broad interception of presidential immunity. Trump’s lawyers argued that even he is not protected, the subpoena is not valid because Vance has not shown any specific need for the information.
The lawyers of Trump wrote, “There has been broad bipartisan agreement, for decades if not for centuries, that a sitting president cannot be subjected to criminal proceedings.”
The probe of Vance involves alleged hush-money payments to two women earlier to the 2016 election. Both the women alleged they had sexual relationships with Trump, which he has denied.
The first woman is Stormy Daniels, a porn star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford and the other is former Playboy model Karen McDougal. They were made payments with the help of Trump’s now-imprisoned former lawyer Michael Cohen.
To clear the way for Vance to obtain the documents, the lower court ruling would stand if the justices decline to hear Trump’s appeal. In case, the justices decide to take up the appeal then they must decide whether to hear the case in their current term that is getting end in June or in their next term that begins in October 2020, likely pushing any decision until after the November 2020 presidential election.