The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is accusing President Donald Trump and his legal team of intentionally trying to delay proceedings in a case over whether or not Manhattan authorities can access the president’s tax returns. In a recent Supreme Court case, a majority of the justices ruled that Trump did not have absolute immunity from grand jury subpoenas like the one for his tax returns, as the president’s side had claimed. Yet, the court referred the case for further proceedings, which are now unfolding — and which Vance’s office says Trump is holding up.
Concerned observers have been after Trump’s tax returns for years. They could contain crucial information outlining conflicts of interest and other forms of corruption on the president’s part. Now, Carey Dunne, a lawyer who works with Vance’s office, says:
‘What the president’s lawyers are seeking here is delay. I think that’s the entire strategy. Every day that goes by, the president wins the type of absolute temporary immunity he’s been seeking in this case, even though he’s lost on that claim before every court that’s heard it, including now the Supreme Court.’
Currently, the Trump legal team has a deadline of July 27 to file a new, updated case against the DA’s office. William Consovoy, who is one of the attorneys on the president’s legal team, has been arguing that the Manhattan subpoena for Trump’s financial records is too broad.
In the recent Supreme Court case, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing on behalf of the majority, noted that Trump could fight the subpoena through the ordinary process of the court system, even without the special treatment that Trump had been seeking. As Roberts put it, Trump “may avail himself of the same protections available to every other citizen, including the right to challenge the subpoena on any grounds permitted by state law, which usually include bad faith and undue burden or breadth.”
Consovoy, the president’s lawyer, has commented:
‘We believe that we can further allege — if the president chooses to do so — that this is not a properly tailored subpoena… Although the president has not had access to the entire declaration from the district attorney’s office, we continue to be deeply skeptical that a subpoena from a New York county fortuitously is exactly the same scope and feature as two different federal investigations focused on federal issues.’
The subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office stems from their investigation of the Trump family business’s role in an illegal hush money scheme targeting women with whom the president had affairs. That’s the scheme that helped land Trump’s former longtime fixer Michael Cohen in prison. Trump personally participated in the scheme to the point of reimbursing Cohen for some of the hush money while in office as president. The Trump Organization falsified records to obscure the true purpose of the payments to Cohen, and in doing so, they committed apparent fraud. It’s one in a long list of instances in which the president’s financial situation and seemingly fraudulent past have come under scrutiny.