Tax Returns Ruling a Win for 'Candidate Trump,' Loss for Presidency

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 17, 2020

US President Donald Trump's efforts to stall the release of his personal and corporate taxes to a NY state grand jury is jeopardising other criminal investigations, a judge was told on Thursday.

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat who is running against incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue, said Mr Trump's decision to come to Georgia to discuss infrastructure as the state's coronavirus crisis worsens demonstrates that the U.S. president is "in denial and out of control".

"This is not a properly tailored subpoena", said the president's attorney Will Consovoy on Thursday.

The Supreme Court handed Trump a partial victory last week in ruling he is not immune from subpoenas from prosecutors.

Consovoy asked how the district attorney's subpoena, which is a copy of subpoenas issued by House investigators that sought records relating to many properties including worldwide businesses and the Trump hotel in Washington, DC, "could be properly tailored for New York County".

Trump lawyer William Consovoy didn't respond directly to that claim, but said there were strong indications that Vance's investigation was a political errand on behalf of Democratic lawmakers in Washington seeking precisely the same set of records.

However, timing now looms as large as any of the legal issues in the case.

Lawyer Carey Dunne urged fast action, telling US District Judge Victor Marrero hesitation could "kill this case".

Trump's next challenge to Vance's request will be filed before July 27, his lawyers told a federal district court judge in NY on Wednesday. The litigation is likely to add weeks or months of delay to when Vance will receive Trump's tax filings, possibly until after the November election.

However, even if Vance prevails in obtaining Trump's documents, grand jury secrecy rules make it unlikely they will become public soon.

No one on the almost 40-minute call Thursday made any reference to the election, but Dunne did say that further delay in the case meant it was possible some individuals might escape justice because the statute of limitation could expire.

Part of Mr Vance's investigation involves payments that Mr Trump's then-personal lawyer arranged during the 2016 presidential race to keep the pornographic actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with him. It may also encompass claims former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has made that Trump's companies routinely inflated real estate valuations when applying for loans and deflated them when trying to shrink tax bills. The judge noted that almost 10 months ago he received a declaration from one of Vance's prosecutors detailing the scope of the investigation and that office's need for the information.

"The United States can't compete and prosper if a bureaucratic system holds us back from building what we need", President Trump said when first announcing the rollback of National Environmental Policy Act rules.

The White House said the administration's efforts will expedite the expansion of Interstate 75 near Atlanta, an important freight route where traffic can often slow to a crawl. "A person like that, if he doesn't like a subpoena, he doesn't get to take the DA's deposition", Vance's aide noted.

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