Donald Trump has been fighting to keep his taxes private since he started running for president, but on Monday a judge ruled that his longtime accounting firm is legally required to turn over eight years of the president's records as part of a criminal probe of his business dealings. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance is leading an investigation to see if any New York state laws were broken when Trump allegedly paid hush money to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal during the 2016 campaign.
Central to Trump's defense are his claims that as president he's immune from criminal investigation, a claim that U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero emphatically rejected. In a 75-page decision, he called Trump's claims about presidential immunity "extraordinary" and "an overreach of executive power," and warned that the implications of it were "virtually limitless." In the opening of his decision, Marrero writes,
The President asserts an extraordinary claim in the dispute now before this Court. He contends that, in his view of the President's duties and functions and the allocation of governmental powers between the executive and the judicial branches under the United States Constitution, the person who serves as President, while in office, enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind. Consider the reach of the President's argument. 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. That constitutional protection presumably would encompass any conduct, at any time, in any forum, whether federal or state, and whether the President acted alone or in concert with other individuals.
Luckily for Trump, an appeals court immediately issued a stay, meaning that the Manhattan DA's office can't get the records until Trump's lawyers have had time to make an expedited appeal in the Second Circuit. Meanwhile, Trump himself is lashing out on Twitter over the ruling against him.
"The Radical Left Democrats have failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing local New York City and State Democrat prosecutors to go get President Trump. A thing like this has never happened to any President before. Not even close!"
Trump is actually correct here. As the only president in modern history to refuse to release his tax returns under any circumstances, no other president has had to repeatedly go to court to fight to keep them private.
In July of 2006, Donald Trump had a new wife, a hit TV show, and a trip to a celebrity golf tourney with a slew of porn stars secretly in attendance. According to a few of those women, including Stormy Daniels, Trump went wild. A dozen years later, what he did threatens his presidency. Ben Schreckinger pieces together the whole weird, sleazy weekend to figure out: What the hell happened in Tahoe?
Originally Appeared on GQ