Trump’s tax lawyers cut ties as he leaves office and reports say federal prosecutors already have his records

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Chris Riotta
·4 min read
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El presidente Donald Trump (derecha) y la primera dama de Estados Unidos, Melania Trump, abordan el Air Force One durante una ceremonia de despedida en la base conjunta Andrews, Maryland (EPA)
El presidente Donald Trump (derecha) y la primera dama de Estados Unidos, Melania Trump, abordan el Air Force One durante una ceremonia de despedida en la base conjunta Andrews, Maryland (EPA)

Donald Trump’s legal troubles began mounting before he could even step foot out of the White House on Wednesday.

Reports indicated early in the morning on Inauguration Day that federal prosecutors in New York had obtained some of his financial records amid an investigation into the former president and his private business.

Those records were obtained despite the Supreme Court having not yet made a decision on whether Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr can demand eight years of Mr Trump’s tax records from his accounting firm, Mazars USA.

While the district attorney’s office was still waiting for an order from the nation’s highest court on its subpoena powers, Bloomberg News reported the new developments meant investigators can begin verifying criminal allegations against the Trump Organization and former president.

By the afternoon, as President Joe Biden was officially sworn in as the next commander-in-chief, reports said Mr Trump’s team of tax lawyers were officially severing ties with him.

A spokesperson for Morgan Lewis said the global law firm was ending its relationship with Mr Trump and his business, which predated his 2015 presidential bid, according to The American Lawyer.

As the legal magazine reported, partners for the firm took a significant role in explaining to the public how the former president was planning to distance himself from his private business during his tenure in the White House.

“We have had a limited representation of the Trump Organization and Donald Trump in tax-related matters,” a spokesperson told the outlet this week. “For those matters not already concluded, we are transitioning as appropriate to other counsel.”

Other law firms also appeared to be jumping ship in the final hour, including Alston and Bird, which said in a 15 January statement it had “no intention of representing the president” in an appeal for a case involving him, his children and the Trump Organization. The firm acquired the president as a client after hiring a new litigator last year that had previously represented, and at the time was representing, Mr Trump.

While Mr Trump faced significant legal controversies throughout his presidency, and congressional investigations were launched into his alleged involvement in campaign finance violations and other concerns, he had yet to suffer the corporate backlash that befell him during his final days in office.

That came amid growing calls for his removal from office following his conduct leading up to the deadly pro-Trump mob attacks on the US Capitol, which left at least five people dead, including United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

Mr Trump held a rally just before the riots encouraging his supporters to march to the building as Congress convened to certify his electoral defeat in the 2020 elections – then released a video to social media during the riots in which he continued to promote false claims of rampant voter fraud.

The former president lost access to virtually all his social media accounts since the day of the riots, as the CEOs of major tech companies cited threats of further violence from his supporters as part of their reasoning for blocking or suspending Mr Trump from their platforms. Major banks also distanced themselves from Mr Trump after the riots and said they would no longer work with the former president or his business.

Even the PGA – the largest professional golf organisation in the US – disassociated from Mr Trump after the mob.

The president’s children have come out since the riot to defend him from the corporate backlash he faced, with Eric Trump insisting that companies cutting ties with his father were falling victim to “cancel culture”.

“We live in the age of cancel culture, but this isn’t something that started this week. It is something that they have been doing to us and others for years,” he told the Associated Press. “If you disagree with them, if they don’t like you, they try and cancel you.”

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers have also voted to impeach the former president for a second time due to his alleged incitement of the deadly insurrection, and the Senate could soon begin a trial even though he is no longer in office.

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