A Federal Judge Just Ruled That Trump Is Not Above the Law and Needs to Turn Over His Taxes

The Manhattan DA wins a case to subpoena Trump’s tax returns, but the president is already appealing.

Stefani Reynolds/Zuma

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A federal judge on Monday struck down President Donald Trump’s argument that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated, letting the Manhattan district attorney’s office subpoena eight years of Trump’s tax returns.

Trump’s lawyers are appealing the ruling.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. sought Trump’s tax returns while investigating whether the president, or his company, broke any New York State laws by reimbursing his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for hush fund payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, the New York Times reported. Cohen is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for campaign finance violations, fraud, and perjury.

In a 75-page ruling, federal Judge Victor Marrero rejected Trump’s claims of immunity to federal investigation, calling them “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”

The Founding Fathers repudiated the notion that the president is above the law, Marrero wrote.

“The President asserts an extraordinary claim in the dispute now before this Court,” Marrero wrote. “He contends that, in his view of the President’s duties and functions and the allocation of governmental powers between the executive and the judicial branches under the United States Constitution, the person who serves as President, while in office, enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind.”

Read Marrero’s ruling below:

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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