WASHINGTON — Attorneys for President Donald Trump have again asked for the Supreme Court to stop an order that would have the president turning over years of tax records to New York prosecutors.
The emergency filing Tuesday marked the second time the president has turned to the nation’s highest court to stop Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from getting his financial records. The court rejected arguments in July that, as president, Trump has total immunity from criminal investigations, but justices said he could appeal the decision to lower courts.
In August, a federal judge upheld a lower court’s ruling that allowed the grand jury subpoena, saying that Trump failed to show he would suffer irreparable harm from the release. The decision was upheld last week in a unanimous ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit, according to The New York Times.
Prosecutors in New York are seeking Trump’s financial records dating back to 2011 as part of investigations into the Manhattan-based Trump Organization and alleged hush money payments made to silence two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump. Vance has not shared details about the investigations, citing the grand jury secrecy, according to the Times.
In Tuesday’s filing, the president’s attorneys argued that the investigation is centered around payments allegedly made by Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, in 2016, making the subpoena requesting years’ worth of records overly broad.
Attorneys also argued the subpoena was issued with the intent of harassing the president. As evidence, they pointed to the language used in the grand jury’s subpoena, which was copied from a House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoena issued in April 2019 to Mazars USA, the accounting firm used by Trump.
“The subpoena was plausibly issued in bad faith if the District Attorney copied a congressional subpoena with no good-faith effort to properly tailor it to his investigative needs,” attorneys wrote in Tuesday’s filing. Later, they added, “It is no secret that gaining access to the President’s financial records -- and his tax returns specifically -- has long been a subject of intense political interest.”
The president has consistently fought the release of his tax returns and other financial records. In 2016, he broke decades of presidential tradition by declining to release his tax returns during the election. He previously framed attempts to obtain such records as “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
Last month, the Times obtained more than two decades of Trump’s tax returns, which showed evidence of chronic financial losses and years of tax avoidance. The newspaper reported that in the year Trump won the race for the White House and in his first year in office, he paid only $750 in federal income taxes.
In 10 of the previous 15 years for which the Times obtained records, the newspaper reported Trump paid no federal income tax.
Trump has insisted that he paid “many millions of dollars in taxes.”