Trump sues to stop Manhattan district attorney from getting his tax returns

Cheryl Sanders
September 19, 2019

Vance is also pursuing a mortgage fraud case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

On Thursday, Trump's legal team swiped back, filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY against Vance for what Trump attorney Jay Sekulow suggested are unconstitutional actions by the DA.

Instead, Trump argued, the power to investigate presidents was invested in Congress, which has the power to impeach and remove presidents for "high crimes and misdemeanors".

Thursday's lawsuit acknowledged that "no court has had to squarely consider the question" of whether criminal investigations into a President were unconstitutional.

Trump's attorneys filed a lawsuit against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who recently subpoenaed the president's accounting firm for eight years of his state and federal returns as part of an investigation into payments made to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

The suit is latest in a string of similar lawsuits by Trump seeking to block investigations into his finances by prosecutors and NY authorities. He asked for eight years' worth of tax returns for Trump and his businesses, plus a number of other financial documents, according to Trump's complaint.

Former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified earlier this year that he delivered the payment to Daniels with the knowledge of Trump and said he had been reimbursed by the president and his organization. The company admitted that payment past year and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. No one besides Cohen was charged, though prosecutors said in public court filings that Trump himself was aware of and directed the payments.

Mr Trump's attorneys filed a lawsuit in US District Court in NY against the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr, who recently subpoenaed the president's accounting firm for eight years of Mr Trump's state and federal returns.

Trump has denied the affair and any other wrongdoing.

On Thursday, Mazars said they intend to "fully comply" with legal obligations, and that their "statement remains the same" with regard to the new Trump lawsuit.

For a court to permit criminal investigations into a sitting president "would allow a single prosecutor to circumvent the Constitution's specific rules for impeachment", Trump's personal attorneys said.

A spokesman for Vance, Danny Frost, said only that "we have received the plaintiff's complaint and will respond as appropriate in court". In the lawsuit, Trump called Vance's subpoena to Mazars "a bad faith effort to harass the President by obtaining and exposing his private financial information, not a legitimate attempt to enforce NY law".

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