Investigators probing the finances of incumbent US President Donald Trump got their hands on some of his tax cases, allowing them to move forward even without a Supreme Court order that would give them eight years of his returns, said sources at Bloomberg.
Investigators probing President Donald Trump’s finances got their hands on some of his tax cases, allowing them to move forward even without a Supreme Court order that would give them eight years of his statements.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who subpoenaed Trump Mazars USA’s accounting firm in 2019, is running one of the most closely watched cases that can lead to criminal charges. While Vance has agreed to wait for a high court ruling on the forced transmission of tax records from 2011 to 2018, his office now has some information from other sources, according to people familiar with the matter.
This information could help Vance support claims that Trump’s company used accounting gimmicks to overestimate the value of its assets when applying for loans and underestimate it to lower its tax bills, the people say. who asked not to be named because the matter is private.
Charges are not imminent as Trump leaves Washington. But losing the November election meant Trump would also lose the presidential protections he had when replaced by Joe Biden at noon. Among these, he said: that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.
No sweep immunity
Trump invoked this long-standing Justice Department policy to fight Vance’s demand for tax records. In July, the Supreme Court rejected the president’s candidacy for sweeping immunity, but left open the possibility that he could raise more specific objections. Lower courts have since rejected Trump’s arguments that the subpoena is too broad and was issued in bad faith, and the case is once again before the Supreme Court.
A spokesperson for Vance’s office declined to comment on what he was reviewing, but the Manhattan prosecutor outlined a possible glimpse of his investigation in a court file in September.
In it, a response to Trump’s complaint that the subpoena amounted to a “fishing expedition,” Vance cited a series of alleged financial misrepresentations by the Trump organization previously reported in the media. As a whole, his office wrote, the company could have violated various New York laws relating to tax evasion, insurance fraud and falsification of business records.
Vance isn’t the only one who wants tax returns. Trump also tried to ward off House Democrats who were looking for them after taking office two years ago. This fight continues – on the day of the inauguration.
The Supreme Court, without explanation, has postponed action for the past three months on Trump’s offer to block Vance’s subpoena. The delay kept the document request on hold as Vance agreed in October not to enforce the subpoena as the Supreme Court considered Trump’s request.
If the court rejected Trump, Vance would be free to insist that Mazars forward the information. Mazars said it will comply with its legal obligations.
Even as the battle dragged on, Vance’s office made significant strides in its investigation, including interviewing people who have worked with the Trump organization or who are familiar with its business practices.
The office spoke to Michael Cohen, the former attorney and Trump’s “repairman,” who pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws on Trump’s behalf during his run in 2016. He s he also spoke with representatives of Deutsche Bank AG, which has loaned more than $ 300 million to Trump, and Aon Plc, an insurance broker who has done significant business with the Trump organization.
Importance of FTI
Vance’s decision to hire financial advisory firm FTI Consulting, which was reported by the Washington Post last month, suggests the prosecutor has already identified examples of potential wrongdoing within the Trump organization, according to the sources.
In a high-profile case like this, FTI can guide Vance investigators through a company’s statements and explain any nuances that could justify – or undermine – the company’s claims. If prosecutors file charges against the Trump organization or individual agents, a representative from the FTI could serve as an expert witness in court.
The Supreme Court case is not the only issue hanging over the DA’s investigation. Vance is in the last year of his current four-year term, but has so far not said whether he will stand for re-election in the Democratic primary, to be held in June. Several other candidates have said they will challenge him.
While Vance’s office is staffed with career professionals who would handle any case launched this year, regardless of who is DA next January, the investigation into the Trump organization is being guided by its general counsel, Carey Dunne. Vance recruited Dunne from the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP four years ago. It’s not clear if Dunne would stay if Vance left.
(Updates on the legal fight with Congressional Democrats in Section Two.)
– With the help of Caleb Melby.