A U.S. federal judge in New York on Monday dismissed President Donald Trump’s efforts to block access to years of his personal and corporate tax returns, saying sitting presidents are not immune from criminal investigations.
In a 75-page ruling, Judge Victor Marrero rejected Trump’s argument, saying such vast immunity would “operate to frustrate the administration of justice” by putting the president’s personal and professional affairs off-limits.”
“This court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process,” Marrero wrote. “The Court cannot square a vision of presidential immunity that would place the President above the law.”
Trump had filed suit against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who had subpoenaed the accounting firm Mazars USA, seeking access to the president’s tax returns dating back to 2011.
Vance is investigating payments made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who claimed to have had an affair with Trump before he ran for president.
Trump is expected to appeal the judge’s ruling.
IMPORTANT: The New York judge who dismissed Trump's tax return suit also took a huge swing at the DOJ memos that say a sitting president can't be indicted. He says the legal weigh given to these OLC opinions is "not warranted." >>>>> pic.twitter.com/sqH9EWIpZf
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) October 7, 2019
Trump has declined to release his tax returns and there have been various attempts to obtain them, including by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
Separately from the New York investigation, Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry from the House following a complaint made by a whistleblower alleging misconduct and abuse of power over the president’s dealings with Ukraine.
A White House document released by Trump shows that he urged the Ukranian president to investigate alleged corruption involving the son of Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden. It is unlawful to seek election assistance of any kind from a foreign individual or government.
On Sunday, a second whistleblower came forward, this one with first-hand information about events that triggered the impeachment investigation, the informant’s lawyer said Sunday.