Donald Trump

Supreme Court Allows NY State Prosecutors to Obtain Trump Tax Returns

The ruling is an unsigned, one-sentence order.

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In an unsigned one-sentence order issued earlier today, the Supreme Court is allowing New York state prosecutors to obtain former President Donald Trump's tax returns and some other financial documents. Here's the order in all its glory:

The application for a stay presented to Justice Breyer and referred to the Court is denied.

There are no concurring opinions or recorded dissents to the order. The ruling is not a surprise, because it is a natural outgrowth of the Court's 7-2 decision in Trump v. Vance last year, where the majority made clear that presidents have no special right to prevent state prosecutors from issuing criminal subpoenas to access their tax returns (though they can still raise the same objections as are available to ordinary citizens targeted by similar investigations). And, at this point, of course, Trump is no longer president, so any special privileges associated with that office would no longer apply in any case.

This ruling doesn't necessarily mean that Trump will be charged with any financial crimes as a result, much less convicted. But it will make it easier for New York prosecutors to find any evidence of such criminality, if it is out there. And, given Trump's history, few informed observers would be surprised if it turned out he engaged in some illegal activity here.

Trump v. Vance should not be confused with Trump v. Mazars, a more complex decision issued the same day, addressing the power of congressional committees to subpoena presidential tax returns. In Mazars, the Court rejected Trump's extreme position that Congress had virtually no power to subpoena presidential tax returns. But it also didn't unequivocally side with the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. Instead, a 7-2 majority created a complex balancing test. I critiqued that test and suggested what I think is a superior alternative here.

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  1. Basically moot at this point anyway, as Trump’s tax returns have already been leaked.

    As you say, pretty predictable, Trump is just a regular citizen now, and a regular citizen would have to cough up their tax returns if subpoenaed for them.

    1. If they have been leaked then please do tell us where to find them. But they have not been leaked. The best we got was the NYTimes got some info about them, but it was just a little.

      1. Oh, come on, it wasn’t too little, they just didn’t bother reporting much of it because they couldn’t find any juicy dirt.

        Just a couple decades worth of returns.

        1. The article says “tax return data” for several years, and not including 2018 and 2019. That is different from complete tax returns.

          1. I don’t see how it’s completely different. It could be anywhere from moderately different, (The data from the returns, only downloaded from an IRS database.) to nothing but a question of terminology.

            1. Given you are the one making the claim, your over broad and, therefore, unwarranted, initial statement is noted. As is your continued refusal to acknowledge the over breadth of your initial statement. Your credibility suffers. Perhaps you assume it’s low enough it doesn’t matter.

              But kudos for eventually admitting your initial statement assumed all the tax returns have been leaked when you do not know that.

              1. I believe the statement was “Trump’s tax returns have already been leaked.”

                And indeed, they have been. 15 years of tax returns would count as “tax returns being leaked”.

                Brett did not say “all of Trump’s tax returns have been leaked”. And by any common understanding, 15 years worth of returns would be considered “tax returns”.

                Moreover, it’s important to understand, that leaking the tax returns is illegal.

                1. No, the statement was ‘Basically moot at this point anyway, as Trump’s tax returns have already been leaked. ‘

      2. Does it make a difference to anyone any more, except for DJT and the NY prosecutors?

        1. And every TDS sufferer everywhere who won’t be happy until he’s in jail, of course.

    2. And how many taxpayer dollars did he spend fighting something which had no chance of ever being successful anyway?

      1. He used lawyers to run out the clock. A typical Trump strategy.

        1. The clock hasn’t run out. But his delaying tactics and pursuing losing strategies is typical Trump.

      2. My guess is less than Congress spent on the first impeachment which had no chance of ever being successful anyway.

        1. Your comparison fails miserably at being apt or appropriate. I’ll leave you to consider why.

          1. Your comparison fails miserably at being apt or appropriate.

            Right. On the one hand you have a case of an expenditure of taxpayer money spent on something that had no chance of success vs….wait…what was your complaint again?

          2. Because you have no idea. Got it.

          3. Because you agree with one and not the other?

            1. Maybe because Trump was using government resources to benefit himself instead of footing his own bill for his own personal legal services. No one should use the federal government that way.

              Conversely, the impeachment involved government business that was pursued/stymied by partisan interests, but there was plenty “there” there for an investigation and it did get a Republican vote to convict (further indication of “there” there).

              1. We have a winner!

                Furthermore, the impeachment was an attempt to correct an injury to the Constitution and the People. If taxpayer money is ever to be spent on anything, that would be #1 on the list.

      3. Zero tax dollars, chump. He doesn’t use Federal attorneys for this. Spare us.

    3. I was under the impression that the IRS and state DORs routinely shared information — they say they do — so why was there a need for a subpoena that the NYDOR already had a right of access to?

      What am I missing here?

      1. The returns were subpoenaed from Mazars, Trump’s accountants, not Trump personally.

        1. I’d want copies from the IRS because then I’d know they are the ones he actually filed. It’s the same thing as wanting transcripts directly from a university.

          And I don’t see why the IRS doesn’t just give them to NY — as they claim to share info with state taxing authorities.

          1. Because they’re not supposed to reveal returns without your permission unless there’s a subpoena, in order to encourage people to trust them with their data.

            1. Well, why do they say they will???

              Isn’t this like being half pregnant? Either they do or they don’t….

              1. IIRC, they share anonomized data with state tax authorities, or personal data as authorized by taxpayers or required by legal proceedings. It’s not a matter of, “Yeah, sure, here you go!” every time a state asks for somebody’s federal return.

      2. The grand jury investigation is being conducted by the New York County District Attorney, not the “NYDOR” (which doesn’t exist). The IRS is generally not permitted to provide returns or return information to state and local prosecutors, except under unusual circumstances not present here. 26 U.S.C. §  6103.

        1. The Mass DOR does, and I presumed that NY’s taxing authority used the same initials. My bad — it still does exist with whatever initials it chooses to use….

  2. The Deep State dipshits stick together.

    1. So Trump put three “Deep State dipshits” on the Supreme Court? Shame on him.

      1. Ivy indoctrinated lawyers. Dipshits living in the rent seeking capital of the US. Nothing overcomes that.

        Move the Supreme Court to Wichita, the middle of the continental US. Exclude all lawyers from the Court. Get random people from the jury pool, or from the gutter with wine besotted bums, for an immediate upgrade in intelligence and clarity of decisions.

        1. I’ve spent time in Wichita. No thank you.

          1. Name any other place in the real US. To me the real US is the Midwest. No one can overcome local culture. DC is gay, elitist, rent seeking, arrogant, stupid but thinking they are the smartest. They are stupider and more supercilious than New Yorkers. Get the Supreme Court out of that sick, depraved place.

            1. Well, given that not just majorities, but large majorities, live in major urban areas, I would say that New York or Los Angeles has a far greater claim on the title “the real US”. Why would you think that a minority of the population is representative of the whole?

              There is much to criticize urban areas for, but since that’s where most of the population lives, that’s the real America.

              1. I think the idea is that the real US is white. That why they assume that Barrack Obama was not really President and that Kamala Harrison is not really Vice President.

                1. Now, now, they also seem to think Biden isn’t really president, and he’s VERY white, but then again I suppose lots of black people voted for him, that does seem to be disqualifying.

                2. Those dark skinned people risking their lives to get here are doing it to get to the real America, not to get to another Third World shithole place. They appreciate America a way you do not. They know better than you do the value of the real America.

                3. Kamala Harrison is definitely not Vice President.

                  Kamala Harris is VP. And, most jokes about Kamala being “not the VP” are digs at Biden, saying that Harris is really the President. So, your response falls flat.

                4. Nor was Barrack Obama ever President.

                  Seriously, are you a Russian troll? Or just a product of public schools?

            2. “Name any other place in the real US. To me the real US is the Midwest. No one can overcome local culture. DC is gay, elitist, rent seeking, arrogant, stupid but thinking they are the smartest. They are stupider and more supercilious than New Yorkers. Get the Supreme Court out of that sick, depraved place.”

              That is movement conservatism — and the Volokh Conspiracy — in a handful of sentences.

              1. Artie. If you ever spent time in either New York or in Washington, you come to pity the natives. So stupid, but in denial. I do not mean as a tourist for a week, but try to make something happen every day for a living.

                You can live much better on $100,000 in real America, than on $1 million in those self deluding shitholes.

            3. To me the real US is the Midwest.

              That’s because you’re a racist as well as a loon.

        2. This is an excellent idea.

          On a related note, the next time I have cancer, I’m going to tell all those Ivy indoctrinated doctors where they can stick it, and form a panel of random people in the ER and wine-besotted bums to decide on the best course of care.

          1. Doctors are not the stupidest people in the country. Those brain damaged bums would have more sense and clearer writing than the stupidest people in the country now sitting at the Supreme Court. They can’t read the plain, eady language of the constitution. They make up rules to impose their sick, arrogant, elitist, big government biases on the country. They don’t know anything, being sheltered know nothing bookworms. Yes, the brain damaged bum would do a much better job than the current Court.

        3. The law is the same no matter where the Court is located.

          1. The judges are not the same. No one can overcome local culture for more than a short time. Move to Iran. Even if you hate Iran, you will become Iranian in the deepest recesses of your thinking within a short time.

            A Peace Corps teacher taught English in a rural China college. He gave the usual interpretation of Hamlet. The students all laughed. They loved their teacher, but Hamlet was obviously about the proletariat struggle against the royal and bourgeoisie classes.

            Humans imitate. There is no way to avoid coming around to the local viewpoint. Come to town the most conservative person in the country. In a short time, you are a gay advocating, rent seeking, big government dipshit. It is inconceivable to support contact tracing of HIV sex contacts, even in the face of a million AIDS deaths of homosexuals aged 25 to 45. The denier culture just opposes that.

    2. I’m starting to think you’re so dumb that you have to remind yourself to breathe every now and then.

      1. You are a denier. Deniers do not argue in good faith.

      2. Even better, he should not bother.

        1. Of course, you lawyers want any dissenter dead. You cannot rebut the self evident. Go study the KGB handbook you found in the trash. Order nerve poison on Tor for any one questioning the lawyer profession, the most toxic occupation in the country, ten times more toxic than organized crime.

          1. Take your meds today, David

  3. “But it will make it easier for New York prosecutors to find any evidence of such criminality, if it is out there.”

    So the SC is now issuing fishing licenses?

    “Sift through stuff to find a crime” versus “Charge a crime and subpoena what you think might be evidence of said crime”.

    1. Due process is too dangerous.

      1. As we all know, due process is for Democrats only.

        1. Taking objections to a subpoena to SCOTUS twice is a due process that not one else would get.

          1. Fishing is fishing, no matter who authorizes it; and it’s supposed to not happen. The Supreme Court is supposed to be the game warden who prevents fishing.

            1. And maybe Vance has enough evidence to justify the subpoena. Ever think of that?

              We already know Trump is a crook. We know he stole money from his foundation and swindled customers of Trump University. We know he claimed, on his federal taxes, that an estate he owns was used for business purposes when it wasn’t.

              We know he stiffs vendors because he can get away with it.

              We know his father made him an illegal loan by buying $3 million in chips at one of his casinos to bail him out at one point.

              Can you seriously believe that’s the limit?

            2. If a known criminal comes up to you (a cop) and says, “My boss has cocaine in that warehouse over there,” then you probably have enough for a search warrant. I guess you would call it a fishing expedition and I’d call it reasonable police-work, based on credible initial information.
              There is a TON of information that suggests wrongdoing by Trump. More than enough for law enforcement to investigate. The fact that Trump first LIED about being willing to release his tax returns means nothing to you…but means a lot to me (and, probably, most other people). You seem to really want Trump to avoid investigation, and that seems curious. Why on earth should a filthy-rich obscenely-wealthy politically-connected man avoid inquiry, even after loads of probable cause is shown?

              What an odd hill to die on, for Trump’s 30-50,000,000 blue collar supporters.

              1. “but means a lot to me”

                A politician lied. Of course your extreme anger is justified, its a rare occasion.

                  1. Politician is Latin for “lie”

                    Being really mad for over 4 years about a lie or a broken promise from a politician is not normal.

                    1. What strange fantasy world are you living in? People get mad about polirician’s broken promises and lies all the time, and stay mad at them and hold grudges and dust them off and bring them out all shiny and new every time they run for election. Sometimes they even hold entire parties responsible for the lies of single politcians! Crazy, right? The only people who think people don’t get mad at politician’s lies are those trying to support a politician who lies so much his name is pretty much a byword for it.

                    2. The only people who think people don’t get mad at politician’s lies are those trying to support a politician who lies so much his name is pretty much a byword for it.

                      Wait…are you referring to the previous lying sack of shit, or the current lying sack of shit?

                    3. Pull your head out of that sack, Wuz, it’s not good for you.

          2. Anyone can appeal (or apply for a stay pending appeal) to SCOTUS as often as they want, and get one-sentence denials. It’s not a special privilege.

    2. Which one of “Sift through stuff to find a crime” versus “Charge a crime and subpoena what you think might be evidence of said crime” are you alleging is happening here?

      Is it your contention that investigators should charge people with crimes before they have developed the evidence to support those charges?

      1. ““But it will make it easier for New York prosecutors to find any evidence of such criminality, if it is out there.”” kind of answered that question before you asked it, didn’t it?

        Ilya seems unpleasantly OK with NY going looking for a crime, without first having probable cause one is there to be found.

        1. Uh, the existence of probable cause is ordinarily predicated upon a law enforcement search for evidence of probable cause. Not vice versa.

          1. Nope. Got to have some basis for thinking there’s a crime, a fairly specific crime, and that the search will reveal evidence. They can’t just say, “This guy looks dodgy, let’s be real, we’d find SOMETHING if you let us look through his papers!”

            1. Brett Bellmore: often wrong, but never in doubt.

              This is not a search. It’s a grand jury subpoena. A grand jury “can investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even just because it wants assurance that it is not.” United States v. Morton Salt Co., 338 U. S. 632, 338 U. S. 642-643 (1950).

              1. My actual motto is, “Nihil Excedit, Sicut Excess”. I have it on a plaque on my desk. But that would be a good one, too.

          2. Uh, the existence of probable cause is ordinarily predicated upon a law enforcement search for evidence of probable cause. Not vice versa.

            I hope you at least have the excuse of day drinking to fall back on for that stunning display of bass-ackwards logic.

            1. Look up the standard required for a subpoena, and try again.

          3. Wow, we heard the exact opposite when it came to election lawsuits for months now. I guess rules are only temporary things.

      2. You can’t search my house for drugs until you already have evidence there are drugs in my house. If they don’t have enough evidence to accuse him of a specific crime, they don’t have enough evidence to justify a warrent.

        1. And how do you know they have no evidence that he might have committed financial crimes?

          1. I was going to say that but you beat me to it. We don’t know what the New York prosecutors have or don’t have. Obviously they have enough to think getting his tax returns is worth their while.

            1. “Obviously they have enough to think getting his tax returns is worth their while.”

              Why is this “obvious”? The DA is a politician, Trump is unpopular with the DA’s voters and the media. That is an independent reason to investigate Trump.

              All the pro law enforcement libs here are heart warming.

              1. All the pro crime conservatives are…unsurprising.

              2. I yield to no one in my skepticism of law enforcement, but that’s not the issue. Even without being privy to what the DA has, there’s been enough reported in the news about his business practices that the safe bet is that crimes were committed. The man is a con artist who would be running a three card monte scam somewhere in Brooklyn if he hadn’t been born to money.

                1. Look, “It’s a safe bet crimes were committed” is not normally enough to get you a subpoena. You could say that of just about anyone!

                  You really need to get to “it’s a safe bet this specific crime was committed, and here’s why it’s a safe bet”. “Just look at him, can you really say that guy wouldn’t have broken the law” is suppose to get you laughed out of court.

                  1. You have already convicted Hillary and Bill by your own self, so maybe let someone else make this objection, lest you look foolish.

                  2. Again, Brett, unless you think that they have to have the returns before they can get the returns you are basically claiming, without having the slightest idea, that Vance doesn’t have enough to justify the subpoena, even though the courts, up to his own appointees, have consistently approved it.

                    You can accuse others of having TDS, but the fact is you are a committed cultist.

                  3. I think Brett sorely misconceives the purpose of a subpoena.

                  4. ‘Look, “It’s a safe bet crimes were committed” is not normally enough to get you a subpoena.’

                    Good thing the commenter in question wasn’t looking for a subpoena.

                    1. Looked it up. Mea culpa, I had thought the standards for subpoenas were similar to warrants.

                      Seems absurdly lenient, if you ask me.

          2. They know that there is no evidence because in their mind Trump can do no wrong and any evidence that may exit was manufactured by the Deep State.

        2. You don’t generally need to have probable cause–much less a warrant–to issue a criminal subpoena. That is because subpoenas are often the mechanism that law enforcement uses to determine if probable cause exists in the first place. See US v. R. Enterprises, 498 US 292 (1991).

          That’s federal law, so maybe there is nuance in New York law that supersedes.

          1. “law enforcement” should (or could) be grand jury.

        3. THis was not a warrant. It was a subpoena. You don’t need probable cause for that.

        4. This isn’t a search, and there’s no warrant at issue. It’s a subpoena.

          1. I wish I had said that.

      3. If someone is withholding material that everyone else has no problem producing, and lies about he reason . . .

        1. “withholding material that everyone else has no problem producing”

          Justifies a subpoena? Provides probable cause? No legal requirement, he just refused to follow a recent political custom.

          I hope you don’t represent criminal defendants.

          1. . . . and he lied about the reason. Several times over.

            1. So?

              Is lying in a debate or press conference a justification for criminal investigation?

              If so, then we are going to need a lot more proescutors.

              1. That depends on what he lied about.

            2. So what. He lied every time his lips moved.
              BTW, have you been tallying the pinocchio’s for Mr Biden Of course, not nearly in the same legue as DJT, but the number is not zero.

              1. He’s repeatedly claimed there were no vaccines before he got into office after he had received both doses before he took office. That was one.

        2. “If someone is withholding material that everyone else has no problem producing, and lies about he reason . . .”

          This is a fancy version of “if you have nothing to hide….” Which is a logical fallacy.

    3. It’s ok with Reason because TRUMP!

    4. “Sift through stuff to find a crime” versus “Charge a crime and subpoena what you think might be evidence of said crime”.

      By definition, grand jury subpoenas are directed at obtaining evidence before a crime has been charged.

  4. The witch hunt can commence!

    1. Having excused Trump’s attempt to sabotage & steal an election he lost, what’s a little commonplace tax fraud to our Jimmy?

      Let the new Era of Excuses begin…….

  5. Gonna be interesting if the NY State prosecutors get the tax returns and find nothing incriminating at all.

    I’d laugh.

    1. I’m sure they’ll find some ham, maybe a slice of cheese, too. And you know what they say about ham sandwiches.

      They don’t need anything particularly incriminating to indict, just to convict.

      1. I’m guessing they will find a pig farm, and maybe a dairy.

        But no matter what they find the Trump cult will deny there is anything wrong.

        1. Why not?

          Political investigation supports a political response.

          1. Why not?

            Because it’s dishonest and disgraceful behavior. If Trump is found to have committed bank fraud, for example, as plainly shown by the documentary evidence, you think it’s fine to shrug it off, because Vance doesn’t like Trump and you do?

            1. Of course. The political motive for the prosecution is more dangerous than any supposed crimes Trump might have committed.

              1. That’s stupid. Letting Trump, or anyone, skate on crimes, or of even being investigated, for political reasons is disastrous for a society.

  6. Does anyone seriously think that there will not be charges filed?

    (regardless of what you think or how you feel about The Donald)

    1. It’s SDNY, they’ll at least file charges over some minor thing and act like they’ve brought down the high house on the hill doing it.

      Regardless of what the charges are, it will be blared everywhere. And then if those charges fall apart in court and he walks, you’ll hear nothing about it except from Fox. The rest will be silent acting like it never happened.

      1. It’s SDNY,

        No, it isn’t. It’s the Manhattan DA.

  7. We have a pool going. Here are the options:
    1. Vance announces that his investigation found numerous criminal activities, but unfortunately the SOL has run so there are no indictments.
    2. Vance announces that his investigation found numerous criminal activities, but they are really federal issues, so he has turned over his results to the US Attorney (who deep sixes them).
    3. Vance announces that his investigation found strong evidence of criminal activity, but he does not believe that he could convince a jury of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, so his ethical obligations as a prosecutor prevents an indictment.
    4. Vance announces that his investigation found strong evidence of improper activity, and Trump has agreed to pay $10 million (civil liability, but Vance won’t mention that).
    5. Vance never says anything, leaves office as he is apparently planning to do, and no case is ever brought.
    6. Trump is indicted and convicted.
    I guess Prof. Somin will take 6 against the field. How much is he in for?

    1. I’d put my bonus on 4 (though no bet on the dollar figure). There will also be some sort of agreement whereby the Trump organization agrees that it will implement controls to ensure that yada yada yada.

      1. Yes, 4 pays no matter the dollar number, so long as it’s civil.

      2. I’m going to have to agree here, civil and pay. I only have $0.02 though, does it count?

    2. Or 7. — Vance is forced to admit that Trump didn’t claim something that he could have and is forced to cut him a check.

      There may be some questionable things that Trump didn’t take, but if he’s going to have to deal with the fine toothed comb review, he well might demand them now.

    3. You’re missing several options between 5 and 6.

      5a. Trump is indicted, but acquitted.
      5b. Trump is indicted, but charges are dropped after an election, but before a trial.
      5c. Trump is named an unindicted co-conspirator in a plea deal by somebody else.

      1. Yeah; weird (obvious!) results to leave off a list. I’d also add “Indicted but hung jury” as a real possibility…hard to find a jury without at least one Trump blind-support member. (There are, of course, lots of people who supported Trump for perfectly rational reasons, like tax cuts for the filthy rich, or conservative judges, or anti-abortion rhetoric. I’m talking about the moronic sub-set, where Trump can do no wrong, and it’s always someone else’s fault.)

        1. “I’m talking about the moronic sub-set, where Trump can do no wrong, and it’s always someone else’s fault.”

          Probably harder than finding one of the moronic subset, where Trump can do no right, and it’s always his fault.

          1. In fairness, a LOT of people think that about Trump. SO MANY PEOPLE think that about Trump. So very, very, very many. Many, many, many.

            1. And yet, more people seem to think otherwise. Were that not the case, Trump would still be President.

      2. I think it’s unlikely that the DA would risk a trial unless the evidence was overwhelming, so I don’t include acquittal at trial as one of the six likeliest outcomes.

        1. And it’s Trump, so the bar for ‘overwhelming’ is very high, one of those ‘walls God built that’s too high for God to climb over’ high, unlike other mere mortals.

    4. Good pool. I’d put my money on #3 because that one doesn’t require him to ever disclose what evidence he “found”.

      1. I wouldn’t choose #3 because leaks will occur.

    5. You missed:

      – Trump is informed that the case will go away so long as he stays out of politics. All in private with nothing in writing.

    6. Trump can not get convicted. It only takes on Trumper on the jury to ensure a hung jury.

      1. Keep in mind that the venue is Manhattan, where Trump is not well liked.

    7. Two separate issues here – tax evasion/fraud/something, and maybe bank fraud. On the former I’d guess he will not be indicted. You have to go pretty far to be prosecuted for tax evasion. But he will pay substantial back taxes, interest, and penalties, and I’ll take the over on $10M on that, easily.

      On the other stuff who knows. Depends on the actual damage done. If a bank took big losses in a bankruptcy because he misrepresented his finances it could be serious stuff – federal as well as state. If the effect wasn’t big then maybe he gets away with a civil penalty. I’m not sure how that would work, but I’d take the over on $10M here also.

      If some of the reporting is accurate – that he provided different financials to the state than to the banks – this might be easier to prove.

  8. Let that be a lesson to anyone else who dares to challenge the bipartisan political establishment, the self-dealing unaccountable runaway D.C. bureaucracy, or their deeply unpopular globalist open borders agendas ever again.

    1. And a lesson to those who engage in financial crimes, like Trump.

    2. Good thing ML knows all the facts already.

      1. ML don’t need no steenking facts.

        1. Whether he did or didn’t cheat on his taxes, violated “campaign finance” laws, or engage in serial jaywalking, is beside the point. The last four years of legal persecution are politically motivated. Of course, this doesn’t excuse any of the aforementioned crimes, if committed.

          1. Hardly. If he did commit crimes, legal ‘persecution’ is entirely justified and it is the politically motivated protection of him from investigation and prosecution that is at fault.

      2. Same with Jason? Right?

        1. No-one could ever accuse Trump of not having engaged in financial crimes, though.

          1. His lack of convictions says otherwise.

            1. It certainly says something about white collar crime in America.

            2. Except you have never cared about the truth. You say above, this is political so who cares if it is correct.

              Jason should have an allegedly in there. But no allegedly will sanitize ML’s paranoid speculation.

              1. ML is paranoid, Jason just missed a word.

                You gaslight everything.

                1. Come off your fake outrage (and complete lack of substantive pushback).

                  How do you feel about calling Hillary a felon?

                  1. S0,
                    Like DJT, Hillary is very old news. Not worth talking about.

                    1. I agree.

                      But the point is that ML wove a whole conspiracy;

                      Cavanaugh just thinks the guy did the thing they’re investigating him for. Which is something the right has made long and loud practice of.

                      They’re not parallels as Bob claims, and also there’s lots of hypocrisy here.

              2. Except you have never cared about the truth.

                Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

        2. He is the co-conspirator in the same crime Michael Cohen went to prison for. Pay attention.

        3. Whataboutism! Close your mouth forever!

      3. Seems like everyone knows all the facts already. The only facts I know are what you might call external to the particular case, to wit, that it would be very unusual to be able to prove criminal tax fraud with regard to tax returns prepared by a large, reputable accounting firm, because the firm will generally have insisted on touching second base in regard to, e.g., appraisals of donated property. (Now if you want say that the real crime is not what’s illegal, but what’s legal, I might agree, but the DA can’t prosecute that kind of crime.)

    3. M L : “anyone else who dares to challenge the bipartisan political establishment, the self-dealing unaccountable runaway D.C. bureaucracy, or their deeply unpopular globalist open borders agendas ever again”

      OK, I’ll bite. When did Trump do any of those things in his four years? Here’s a hint for anyone responding : Brat child theatrics, toddler snits, & gross ethical lapses don’t count as “challenging the bipartisan political establishment”. If there’s a Trump toady here who wants to make the case, please do so on a substantive level slightly higher than reality-TV.

      The MAGA crowd loved President Troll because he was entertaining and a middle-finger to everyone & anything. To dress that up in grand words as ML does truly puts lipstick on a pig.

    4. Indeed, especially if said challenger to the bipartisan political establishment is a mobster.

  9. At what point does this become a “selective prosecution” and what, if any, limits are there on that sort of thing?

    If no one cared about his tax returns *before* he became President, what reason is there now to suspect problems with them?

    1. Many people cared about his taxes during the campaign. Trump said he would release them and never did.

      1. He said he’d release them when the audits were over. I guess you guys didn’t bother to notice that there’s a regulation requiring the President and VP to be continuously audited so long as they’re in office. (Not joking, there is, it was adopted right after Nixon.)

        1. Not quite, Brett. You’re whitewashing.

          He initially said nothing about audits being over. Then when pressed, he claimed he would do it when the audits were over, which is BS, since there is nothing about being audited that would have prevented him from releasing his returns.

          Also, do you really think the 2013-2016 audits weren’t over by, say, 2018?

          1. The IRS has a three-year audit cycle, but they sometimes keep complicated returns open for longer periods. (The taxpayer kind of has to agree, since otherwise the IRS can assert a deficiency based on what it thinks might be true, and the burden of proof is on the taxpayer to prove them wrong.) So it’s hard to know which of Trump’s tax years might be closed. It would be very surprising, however, for a local DA’s office to be able to find provable tax fraud when the IRS and the Justice Department could not.

      2. So what?
        That has nothing to do with why he lost in November

  10. Does it matter to anyone that Trump promised to release his tax returns during his campaign? And then didn’t?

    Personally, I would be amazed if they found any tax code violations in Trump’s returns. They were handled by a professional accounting firm that would have nothing to do with tax evasion. Being caught up in that would cause them to lose their business. If there is anything there, it would be that Trump falsified information to his accountants.

    What they will point to are the pathways of whatever dicey financial dealings Trump had with his various PACs, campaign committees, and of course Deutsche Bank. I would be equally surprised to find out there is nothing there.

    1. “Does it matter to anyone that Trump promised to release his tax returns during his campaign? And then didn’t?”

      Why would a politician breaking a non-binding promise mean anything to a District Attorney? Anything legally?

      1. About as much as it means to a Supreme Court, presumably, therefore a seperate thing.

    2. My guess is that that’s exactly right. We know already that Trump said certain assets were worth X to the IRS but worth Y to potential lenders. One of those figures was wrong. I assume that Trump’s tax returns (in conjunction with loan documents, signed under penalty of perjury) will lead to big problems. But I do assume that Trump’s tax records (a) will bend, but not break, any federal tax laws. (b) will appall 90% of the public…just as would tax returns of most other obscenely wealthy person.

      The great news (I hope!!!) is that we–the public–will finally get to see, rather than depend on our own guesses (unreliable!) or the representations of Trump (obvious liar). This is a good thing.

      I have to admit that I am secretly hoping to find out that Trump made regular generous donations to Planned Parenthood (before running for president, of course).

      1. “We know already that Trump said certain assets were worth X to the IRS but worth Y to potential lenders.”

        We do?

        1. You are correct that we don’t know this is a fact yet. We do know from public records like property taxes and loan disclosures that Trump has used two set of numbers depending on the purpose of asset evaluation (taxes vs loan).

          1. That can actually be perfectly legal. I just did a refi, and the property value for loan purposes was very different from the value I’m being taxed on. The bank wanted to know what my house could be sold for, and the county cares what I bought it for. In a rapidly appreciating local real estate market, those can be very, very different.

            1. And then there are depreciation schedules which are either accounting protocol and/or IRS fiat — and may not represent actual decline in value.

              And that’s without getting into the various ways you can depreciate things — all legal, all IRS approved — and some actually used as incentives.

            2. That can actually be perfectly legal. I just did a refi, and the property value for loan purposes was very different from the value I’m being taxed on. The bank wanted to know what my house could be sold for, and the county cares what I bought it for.

              More BS. Whether you are reporting the values or the county is assessing the tax value, you’re dealing with two completely different things – original purchase price vs. current market value. Not the case, probably, with Trump.

              Besides, even if both estimates are of current value, I don’t think you are under any obligation to correct the county’s assessment if you think it’s too low.

              1. “We do know from public records like property taxes and loan disclosures that Trump has used two set of numbers depending on the purpose of asset evaluation (taxes vs loan).”

                And I pointed out that it is perfectly routine for property tax valuations to differ, sometimes drastically, from loan valuations. More often than not, even. Are you really going to claim that’s BS?

                1. He is likely too ignorant to know better.

      2. Loan documents are not signed under penalties of perjury. However, lying to obtain a loan is fraud (and a federal crime if it involves a federally insured institution), so it comes to about the same place. The borrower normally does not get to appraise his own assets; rather, the lender commissions its own appraisal. That said, shocking though it be, an appraiser working for a prudent lender might come to one answer, an appraiser working for a taxpayer seeking a charitable contribution might come to another, and an appraiser working for a taxpayer who had received a distribution of property might come to another. Sort of like the way immutable legal principles like “federalism” lead the Prof. Somin to very different conclusions depending on whether the issue is immigration versus gay marriage.

        1. I’ve bought about 10 investment properties over the years. I thought that some of the loan docs and financials I had to sign did have an “under penalty under perjury” clause. But it’s possible that I’m not remembering that correctly.

    3. If there is anything there, it would be that Trump falsified information to his accountants.

      Bingo!

      1. CPAs not wanting to lose a license don’t do business with clients who falsify information to them. A CPA I know told me about a client he got rid of for this very reason.

        A major accounting firm — no, they don’t want the hassle.

    4. Orbital Mechanic : “Personally, I would be amazed if they found any tax code violations in Trump’s returns”

      Personally, I was amazed at the rot in Trump’s Foundation – given it had operated for over thirty years. But one day someone took a really close look & found fraud top to bottom. It wasn’t legally registered anywhere. The only non-family member on its board, Allen Weisselberg, testified he wasn’t told he held the position the decade he was listed. The board went years without any formal meetings and there were no executive officers. Basically, it was a slush fund for Trump to loot.

      He defrauded donors, cheated veterans’ organizations, failed to make publicly-pledged grants, and used the charity to pay business expensive, settle municipal fines, & buy oil paintings or sports memorabilia for his golf clubs.

      It just took one person digging into the details and the entire house of cards came tumbling down. This was equally true of Trump University; examine DJT’s affairs closely and you probably find fraud. This is illustrated in the smallest & funniest detail from the foundation scam : Trump used his charity to pay little Don Jr’s seven dollar Boy Scout fee.

      You or me? We’d dig out our wallets over such a paltry sum. Someone with the mind of a criminal, however, ain’t gonna pass-up a chance to criminal. And that’s Trump to a Tee….

      1. Then why no charges from the IRS?

        1. No criminal charges from anyone.

          1. You tell me why no criminal charges. Trump’s kids got off by taking a class on how not to break the law. Wanna bet they were smirking thru every minute of it? Snippets from the linked story :

            “A New York judge on Thursday ordered President Trump to pay $2 million in damages for misusing funds from a tax-exempt charity — taking the charity’s money to pay debts for his for-profit businesses, to boost his 2016 campaign and to buy a painting of himself, according to court documents. That order, from state Judge Saliann Scarpulla, settled a lawsuit filed against Trump last year by the New York attorney general. It marked an extraordinary moment: The president of the United States acknowledged in a court filing that he had failed to follow basic laws about how charities should be governed.”

            “Trump’s three eldest children — Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric — were also named in the original lawsuit, because they were listed as board members at the foundation. In reality, the board did not meet at all for 19 straight years, from 1999 to 2018. The three Trump children were required to take an “in-person interactive” training class in how to be better board members, and the suit against them was dismissed, court documents say.”

            “All of these incidents — the donation at the Iowa fundraiser, the donation to Bondi, the helmet and the painting — were cited in the settlement as examples of improper spending. After its investigation, the attorney general’s office alleged that Trump had effectively treated the foundation as a personal checkbook — without taking care to follow the laws governing charity spending. In fact, the foundation had spent only $163 on legal fees from 2001 to 2016. In an interview with Allen Weisselberg — a Trump Organization executive who was listed as the foundation’s treasurer — Weisselberg said he had no idea he was even on the board, according to the state’s lawsuit.”

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-ordered-to-pay-2-million-to-charities-over-misuse-of-foundation-court-documents-say/2019/11/07/b8f804e2-018e-11ea-9518-1e76abc088b6_story.html

        2. Outrageuous, isn’t it?

  11. I think that because of the scope of the President’s power the public should expect to see the President’s tax returns. I don’t think this should be required by laws, but rather should be expected. No tax return should equal no votes. This might not happen but it should.

    1. But what if, and I’m just spitballing here, what if voting for the person with an incredibly dodgy and extremely crooked record who doesn’t release his tax returns despite promising to do so PWNS THE LIBS? I mean, you gotta vote for that guy, amirite?

    2. Why? So people who don’t know shit can opine in detail about how much they do not know shit?

  12. So while 5 years of intensive investigation, including the leaking of the tax returns, turned up no crime, Somin remains confident that Trump is a criminal.

    Says something really negative about Somin.

    1. This ruling doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump will be charged with any financial crimes as a result, much less convicted. But it will make it easier for New York prosecutors to find any evidence of such criminality, if it is out there.

      Read better.

    2. Trumps taxes have not been investigated.

      1. That would probably come as a surprise to the IRS, which is legally obligated to investigate a President or VP’s tax returns, for the whole time they’re in office.

    3. So while Trump has successfully blocked investigators from reviewing his financial records for years, dwshelf remains confident that Trump has been thoroughly investigated.

  13. “[G]iven Trump’s history, few informed observers would be surprised if it turned out he engaged in some illegal activity here.”

    This entirely gratuitous comment illustrates why media elites are so distrusted, especially when it comes to Trump. Would you seat a potential juror who opined in voir dire that your client was probably guilty because he was guilty of a lot of other stuff?

    Suppose it ends up being debatable whether Trump violated some tax law. If this expert weighs in on the anti-Trump side (as is likely), no “informed observer” is going to take that opinion at face value. And it won’t be because they’re ignorant. It will be because they know bias when they see it.

    1. From your reaction, it sure sounds like you think it’s possible Trump will be in some legal jeopardy here. Are you some anti-Trump crazy?

      Seems more like you see persecution in anyone who even countenances Trump isn’t perfect.

  14. So the IRS doesn’t ever look at Trump’s tax returns?

    1. Of course it does, every year and continually.

    2. So the IRS doesn’t ever look at Trump’s tax returns?

      The Trump operation is large enough to have a full time agent with an office at Trump corporate HQ. That is standard stuff.
      Thats why this media propaganda is like the last media propaganda concerning Trump. media propaganda.

  15. I’m surprised I haven’t heard any talk about the dude fleeing the country to a place without extradition to the US.

    I’m sure Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, two other rich guys, wish they had done it.

    1. I hear he has a buddy in high places in North Korea.

    2. Why would he need to? He has enough supporters here who are willing to wage war if anything is done to him.

      I would giggle uncontrollably if some rogue Air Force fighter pilot took out all of the Dems.

    3. I remember reading a BS opinion piece on CNN.com written by some general saying that Trump would flee as soon as he lost the election. As usual, the TDS sufferers were wrong.

      1. Harvey Mosley : “I remember reading a BS opinion piece on CNN.com written… (etc)”

        Me too! I remember reading a BS opinion piece on CNN suggesting Trump would try to sabotage or steal the election if he lost, using any means possible, including illegal ones. Oh how the Trump supporters scoffed at such TDS!

        And how did that turn out?

  16. I’m okay with the returns being released provided that any prosecutor, grand juror or anyone else who leaks them gets gassed.

    1. Run an entirely fraudulent charitable foundation – make them president.
      Leak someone’s tax returns – gas them.
      Weird, weird, weird.

      1. We all know that the entire purpose of these investigations is to get them and leak them. You leftists assure us that isn’t going to happen. So why not agree to a penalty of gassing? It isn’t going to happen, after all!

  17. Doesn’t the govt have to present evidence of a crime to get a warrent? What’s the crime?

    Same with congress. They have the power to see tax records to aid them in writing legislation. How would President Trumps taxes accomplish the goal as laid out in the legislation.

    1. Doesn’t the govt have to present evidence of a crime to get a warrent?

      You mean warrant, and yes. But why are you asking about warrants, which have nothing to do with this discussion?

  18. I have already made my position known. Prosecuting Trump for tax fraud, if that is what they find, it penny ante. Just puts him in a big crowd. Club Fed is full of those types.

    Trying to subvert an election is another story. I would much prefer the Georgia Attorney General prosecute him there. (Do they still have chain gangs in Georgia?)

    1. The Democrats subverted the elections by changing the rules to allow mail-in and ballot harvesting, and that’s leaving aside the subversion by the last 55 years of our immigration policy.

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