One of the hoped for dreams of Trump opponents arrived on Monday, Feb. 22, when the Supreme Court demolished the shield protecting his tax returns from New York prosecutors. His acquittal on the second impeachment kept the doors open for future political aspirations, but this decision by the Court may be the coup de grace.
Trump’s tax returns were a key objective of his adversaries during both his presidential campaigns, and now New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance can zero in on Trump’s tax returns from 2011 to 2018 as well as other possible financial crimes, including fraud.
Trump snapped back at the decision citing it as just another politically motivated “witch hunt.” He said he was the victim of “headhunting prosecutors,” and even, quite ironically, compared the attacks to “fascism.”
For several years Trump’s tax records have been a source of contention, and now Vance can resume his demands from Trump’s accountants at Mazars, who made claims of neutrality in the proceedings and that they were merely waiting for the other shoe to fall before surrendering the records.
A number of troubling incidents involving Trump are sure to surface in the investigation and the probe of his files. The “hush-money” payments to two women who accused Trump of sexual encounters with them, none more publicized than the Stormy Daniels affair, are sure to be introduced by Vance. Added to this toxic mix is the cooperation of Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen in the developments.
In a statement to The Hill on Monday, Cohen said, “The Supreme Court has now proclaimed that no one is above the law. Trump will, for the first time, have to take responsibility for his own dirty deeds.”
Former U.S. attorney, Harry Litman, agreed with Cohen, saying “It is definitely the end of the road,” for Trump’s legal challenges. It’s to be seen how the so-called secrecy of grand jury proceedings will remain behind closed doors.
How all of this will play out and the impact it will have on Trump’s ambitions will continue to be up in the air and a mystery for days to come, though it seems he’s on the ropes again and it will take all of his legal legerdemain to avoid conviction.