On Tuesday, Donald J. Trump requested the Supreme Court to block the decision made by lower court to subpoena him which would give access to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to many years of his income tax returns. Cyrus Vance Jr, Manhattan District Attorney, is asking for Trump’s tax records among other documents for an investigation regarding Trump Organization.
The President’s lawyers submitted an “emergency” application urging the Supreme Court to issue a state or suspension of a subpoena, which asked for many financial documents including his income tax returns.
In the application, Trump’s lawyers told the Supreme Court that the lower court judge did not make the right decision by ruling that the prosecutor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr, had any legal basis to subpoena the documents.
President Trump’s legal team wrote, “Allowing this deeply flawed ruling to stand, especially given the prominence of this case, will needlessly sow confusion where none presently exists…the decision is indisputably wrong.”
If the request is accepted, this will be the second time this case will come before the Supreme Court. In July, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s position as the president does not protect him from a criminal investigation, which his legal team had argued.
The Supreme Court wrote, “No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.”
Trump has still not released his tax returns, claiming he is being audited by the IRS and will release them once the audit is over, despite being pressured by the Democratic party and many others. This is the first time a president has not released his tax returns in over 40 years.
In 2019, House Democrats and Vance, who is also a Democrat, individually subpoenaed tax returns from Trump’s accountants, but they have refused to provide them and have been battling them ever since.
Although it is clear Vance is investigating potential crimes conducted by Trump’s businesses, such as tax fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud, and falsification of business records, it has not been made public what exactly the focus of the investigation is.
Last month, The New York Times released an investigative report on Trump’s tax returns from the past two decades. The report found that Trump’s businesses did not pay taxes 11 out of the 18 years since his businesses had incurred huge losses, and paid only $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017.
Trump refusing to release his tax returns and now subpoenaing the Supreme Court is unlikely to have an effect on him electorally, since many voters who voted for him in 2016 do not think him not releasing his tax returns is that big of an issue. One of his voters from Arizona said, “The information didn’t discuss or claim anything illegal that was done. It’s mostly that he’s paid very little taxes and there’s nothing illegal about that”.
Another supporter said, “As a US businessman, you’re going to have a lot of losses, you’re going to have gains and that determines how much tax you actually owe, and if he legally pays what he owes, then I don’t see an issue with it at all.” indicating that many voters, though not all, do not have a problem with this report.