Judge dismisses Trump’s lawsuit to block subpoena for tax returns

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington DC for Florida on Oct. 3

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington DC for Florida on Oct. 3

A federal judge on Monday dismissed President Donald Trump's lawsuit seeking to block the Manhattan District Attorney from obtaining the president's tax returns as part of an investigation into hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign.

"As the court reads it, presidential immunity would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings, including investigations, grand jury proceedings and subpoenas, indictment, prosecution, arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration", the judge wrote.

Trump argued that Mazars USA should not have to release the tax records because sitting presidents should be immune from state investigations. Nonetheless, Trump's tax affairs remain a subject of national controversy and fascination. Presidents, their families and businesses are not above the law, the judge wrote.

President Donald Trump's lawyers are appealing a judge's conclusion that the president can not stop Manhattan's district attorney from getting his tax returns.

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He said if the courts were to accept Mr. Trump's immunity argument it would shield the president from investigation into any conduct, at any level of government - and could even be used to protect his associated from probe. They also contend that this investigation into his taxes is politically motivated and should be stopped. Mr. Vance has accused the president and his team of trying to run out the clock on the investigation.

Trump's lawyers have said they will appeal the ruling.

Federal prosecutors are barred from charging a sitting president with a crime because the Justice Department has decided that presidents have temporary immunity while they are in office.

The DOJ's position on presidential prosecution was recently invoked during former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, when he explained that he was not making a traditional prosecutorial determination, citing the policy. His office is investigating the Trump Organization's involvement in buying the silence of two women who claimed to have had affairs with the president. The Justice Department also took Trump's side in the case.

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The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan Monday granted the delay requested by Trump's lawyers until the appeals court could consider the issue expeditiously. But that agreement was to expire at 1 p.m. on Monday. A federal judge on October 7, 2019, said Trump must hand over eight years of tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, forcefully rejecting the president's argument that he was immune from criminal investigations.

Defying long-standing political custom, Trump refused to release his tax returns as a presidential candidate and has continued to keep the returns under wraps while serving in the White House.

California's governor signed a law in July that would prevent Mr Trump from appearing on the state's primary ballot unless he discloses his income tax returns.

The Manhattan DA is investigating whether this is a falsification of business records, which is a crime in NY.

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