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Politics Prosecutors flag that DOJ is not in sync with Trump on tax returns claim

02:50  16 october  2019
02:50  16 october  2019 Source:   politico.com

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New York prosecutors pressing for access to President Donald Trump ’ s tax returns are drawing attention to the Justice Department ’ s refusal to back up a claim by Trump ’ s personal attorneys that he is immune from the state-run criminal justice process. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr

The U. S . Supreme Court ruled that New York prosecutors can access President Donald Trump ’ s tax returns and that he’ s not immune from criminal prosecution.

New York prosecutors pressing for access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns are drawing attention to the Justice Department’s refusal to back up a claim by Trump’s personal attorneys that he is entirely immune from the state-run criminal justice process.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump.© Win McNamee/Getty Images President Donald Trump.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. highlighted the disagreement Tuesday in a brief filed with a federal appeals court considering a suit Trump filed to block a grand jury subpoena issued to one of his accounting firms, Mazars USA.

“Given the DOJ’s own recent investigations, prosecutions, and convictions involving Appellant and his affiliates, including the prosecution of Michael Cohen, in which Appellant was referenced as an unindicted co-conspirator, the DOJ cannot (and does not) join in Appellant’s claim to an absolute immunity,” Vance and his colleagues wrote in a submission to the 2nd Circuit. “Appellant’s aggressive immunity claim here is particularly hollow in view of his failure to raise it in these recent investigations and prosecutions.”

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  Trump wanted to release his taxes in 2013 to show how smart he was for paying so little President Donald Trump's fight to keep his tax returns private is at odds with his own thinking in 2013 and 2014 that releasing them as part of a presidential bid would make him look like a smart businessman who had spent years lowering his taxable income. Trump ultimately changed his mind after an adviser says he convinced him not to release his taxes, and he has spent years claiming he can't because he's under audit by the IRS.

Donald Trump tax returns . News, Analysis and Opinion from POLITICO. Prosecutors flag that DOJ is not in sync with Trump on tax returns claim .

Journalist Susanne Craig says decisions by the U. S . Supreme Court mean President Donald Trump ' s tax records will likely not be seen by the public before the November presidential election. Supreme Court rules N . Y . prosecutors can access Trump ’ s tax returns .

The Justice Department brief filed last week in the case said that the effort to use a criminal subpoena to obtain Trump’s tax returns raised “significant constitutional questions” and should be put on hold so its impact could be reconsidered by a federal district judge.

But Justice officials did not go as far as Trump lawyers, who argued that a sitting president is entirely off-limits to state prosecutors.

Vance’s team also scoffed at arguments from Trump and the Justice Department that impeachment is the mechanism the Constitution prescribes for misconduct by a president. The local prosecutors noted that Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Congress last week defying its demands for information in an impeachment inquiry.

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The decisions will keep Trump ' s tax returns , banking records and other financial documents out of the public eye for the time being. Because the grand jury process is confidential, Trump ’ s taxes normally would not be made public. © Provided by Associated Press Members of the media set up outside the

Donald Trump has slammed the US Supreme Court' s ruling to grant prosecutors access to his tax returns as a "political witch hunt". House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed the verdict, saying that "President Trump is not above the law".

“The reality is that Appellant has refused to participate in the very impeachment process that he presents here as the bulwark against placing a president above the law… His core position on every one of these matters is that the United States Presidency places him beyond the reach of the law,” Vance’s office wrote.

Prosecutors also emphasized their argument that allowing Trump to fend off the subpoena would threaten investigations of other individuals who could potentially be charged, regardless of whatever legal protections a president may claim.

Vance’s office says it is investigating various matters relating to the Trump Organization, including how the business recorded so-called “hush money” payments to two women who claimed sexual encounters with Trump, Stephanie Clifford and Karen McDougal.

Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, has pleaded guilty in federal court to arranging those payments as part of an effort to elect Trump to the presidency in 2016. Court documents filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan alluded to Trump as a co-conspirator in that case, but he has not been charged. Justice Department policy bars charging a sitting president with a crime.

A three-judge panel of 2nd Circuit judges is scheduled to hear arguments on Trump’s appeal next week.

The dispute involving the Manhattan D.A. is one of at least four ongoing court cases involving efforts to obtain Trump’s financial records.

Last week, Trump lost the first of those cases to reach a federal appeals court as a D.C. Circuit panel ruled, 2-1, against his attempt to block a subpoena from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Trump’s attorneys have indicated they plan to go to the Supreme Court if lower courts don’t back his demands to quash the subpoenas.

Analysis: Democrats Want to Impeach Trump. They Haven’t Decided Why. .
The articles of impeachment could be focused solely on Ukraine — or they could be a broader indictment of the president's wrongdoing.But while that decision helped quell years of frantic debate over whether and why and how Democrats might seek to remove the president, it also foreshadowed the coming battle among House Democrats about what the actual articles of impeachment should look like. Democrats seem to have made strides in their investigation in recent weeks, but they still have this major hurdle to resolve — a hurdle that could have significant implications not just for the success of the inquiry, but for Democrats’ ability to keep control of the House in 2020.

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