There is nothing worth seeing in Donald Trump’s tax returns and financial records, ok?
We know that, because the president is now prepared to ask the Supreme Court to save Mazars (his accounting firm) from having to comply with a subpoena seeking eight years of documents.
That’s what you do when you have nothing to hide – you defy a subpoena, lose in court, lose again in court, lose a third time in court and then appeal the whole thing to the Supreme Court, whose 5-4 conservative lean comes courtesy of two justices you appointed.
The ruling against Trump by a three-judge panel of the New York-based 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday comes a little over a week after the president’s attorneys attempted to argue that Trump’s claim to immunity from prosecution would cover him even if he were to actually live out his famous claim that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody”.
On October 7, a federal judge in Manhattan called the president’s contention that he is immune from criminal investigations “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values”. That ruling made the subpoena (issued in August by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who is conducting a criminal probe) enforceable, but Trump secured a last-minute stay.
A couple of weeks later, on October 23, Denny Chin, one of the three judges on the federal appeals panel reviewing the case, asked Trump’s attorney to clarify his position.
“Local authorities couldn’t investigate? They couldn’t do anything about it?”, Chin asked, inquiring as to what options local police would have if Trump grabbed a rifle, ran out into the middle of the street and gunned down a half-dozen pedestrians for no reason. “Nothing could be done? That’s your position?”, Chin asked.
“That is correct”, Trump’s attorney actually said. “That is correct”. (He said it twice.)
The 2nd Circuit didn’t take that issue up, but the panel did say that even if Trump is immune from prosecution while in office, he can be investigated.
“[It would] exact a heavy toll on our criminal justice system to prohibit a state from even investigating potential crimes committed by him for potential later prosecution”, Judge Robert Katzmann wrote, adding that “presidential immunity does not bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce non‐privileged material, even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the president”.
So, it’s off to SCOTUS, where
Bart O’Kavanaugh Brett Kavanaugh will get to help decide whether Mazars has to produce the records requested by Vance.
“The decision of the Second Circuit will be taken to the Supreme Court”, Jay Sekulow said in a statement. “The issue raised in this case goes to the heart of our republic. The constitutional issues are significant”.
Yes, Jay, they are. Because your client quite literally argued – through his attorneys – that he can use civilians as target practice whenever it suits him, and nobody could even investigate him, let alone prosecute him.
That’s a “significant” constitutional issue if we’ve ever heard one.