On Thursday, New York’s U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero dismissed an argument that President Donald Trump’s legal team had brought claiming that the president should be free from complying with a subpoena for his financial records that had been issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. In his ruling in favor of Vance, Marrero characterized the president’s team’s latest arguments as simply an attempt to get absolute immunity from state criminal investigations through a “back door.” Following the ruling, “Trump’s lawyers filed an emergency notice of appeal… and also asked for an order blocking Mazars from complying with [the] subpoena in the meantime,” Bloomberg reports. Mazars USA is Trump’s longtime accounting firm, which is targeted by Vance’s subpoena.
The president and his legal team sound, in short, absolutely desperate to hide whatever precisely is in Trump’s financial records. Although initially, only the infamous hush money scheme targeting women with whom Trump had affairs was known to be at the center of Vance’s investigation, his team has since revealed that they have been investigating potentially more wide-ranging criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.
In his ruling, Marrero sternly denounced the president’s team’s attempt to keep Trump from having to see his financial records turned over to Vance’s investigators. Trump’s legal team has apparently argued in this matter at one point that even if Trump shot someone in broad daylight, “nothing could be done” until he was no longer in power. Marrero characterized that argument as fundamentally out of line and a grave danger to the rule of law in the United States.
The judge said, referring to the president’s legal team’s claims of immunity for Trump:
‘At the core, the argument declares that a sitting president, as well as, derivatively, his or her staff, relatives, and business associates, current and former, stand above the law and beyond the reach of any judicial process in law enforcement proceedings pertaining to potentially criminal conduct and transactions involving an incumbent. That notion, applied as so robustly proclaimed by the president’s advocates, is as unprecedented and far-reaching as it is perilous to the rule of law and other bedrock constitutional principles on which this country was founded and by which it continues to be governed.’
In other words — Trump’s egomaniacal self-obsession does not translate into actual freedom from accountability for his actions in a courtroom.