On Sunday (September 27), The New York Times published a lengthy report in which the national newspaper claimed its board obtained a plethora of President Donald Trump’s highly-coveted tax documents.
When presidential candidates or incumbents are seeking an election or re-election bid for The White House, they typically release their business or personal income tax forms to the public. This courtesy practice has been exercised by presidential incumbents and candidates for the last three decades, according to a 2019 legal blog post by The Reeves Law Group of California.
However, presidential incumbents and candidates are in no way legally required to publicly disclose their personal or business income tax documents. The U.S. Constitution outlines stringent protections, which underpin the rights citizens have as it pertains to the privacy of their income tax documents. As a candidate, President Trump was vilified for refusing to publicly release his tax records.
Impetuous media claims by public figures circumvented theories about what Trump may have been hiding in his tax statements. However, in February 2016, the walking controversy storm admitted that an IRS audit of his tax filings prevented him from sharing info. Trump said that around three years’ worth of tax information was being audited by the IRS.
Fast-forward to September 2020 and The Times has revealed its possession of roughly 20 years worth of Trump’s tax-related documentation. The newspaper’s report (written by Times columnists Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire) claimed, among many other malfeasances, that a 10-year audit battle with the IRS uncovered what is believed to be a phony $72.9 million-dollar tax refund.
The Times reported that the IRS believes this massive tax refund was collected by the Trump Organization for one purpose; covering up portions of astronomical losses, which stemmed from poor business decisions. However, it is also believed that the $72.9 million-dollar refund paid out to Trump’s empire is not enough to cover the tab for a judge’s negative ruling, which could end up costing over $100 million, The Times reported.
Nonetheless, the aforementioned financial quagmires attributed to The Times, in this Your Black World report, are just the tip of the iceberg. Mass tax write-offs and failing real estate investments mishandled by the Trump Organization are also exposed in the newspaper’s extended documentation of mass corporate destruction.
But these disastrous media accounts of what appears to be a crumbling business empire may indeed be the least of Trump’s survival worries. There was another money-related issue about Trump that was verified before The Times report, which flew quietly under the radar. The financial news outlet’s version of events does not just involve money. It involves Trump’s looming loss to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
According to CNBC, a federal appeals court is growing weary of Trump’s legal team. William Consovoy, an attorney representing Trump before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is using stall tactics to buy time for his client. Why? Because Cyrus Vance (pictured right), the Manhattan District Attorney of New York, needs more for a growing criminal case he is methodically building against Trump and his organization.
Vance’s office has already obtained the Trump Organization’s 20-year paper trail of IRS tax documents. However, Vance was not interested in obtaining these documents for the public’s political consumption. He is working with his team of NYC prosecutors to investigate Trump for some serious crimes, including bank fraud, illegal insurance scams, and other felonies.
However, Vance and his state-level crime investigators still need a recently-approved grand jury subpoena process to move forward. Grand jurors will then obtain the information they need from prosecutors in order to hand down criminal indictments. If this unfolds, Trump’s defense attorneys will not be permitted to argue anything in court on his behalf as Vance or one of his prosecutors presents its case to the grand jury.
Vance and his prosecutors also need to obtain subpoenas for members of Trump’s loyal accounting firm, which has handled his business matters for a long time.
In the past, everything Trump’s defense team has tried to do in order to prevent Vance from building a criminal case against the sitting U.S. President has failed. Trump’s attorney Consovoy recently made oral arguments before a three-judge panel, which rules for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Consovoy called Vance’s subpoena “overboard” and relegated his office’s investigation to a “fishing expedition.”
However, though no final ruling by the federal appeals court has been made thus far, its judges were not impressed with Consovoy’s grandstanding.
“Grand juries, as you know, are given broad authority to do their work. Are you asking us to change the way grand juries have done their work for time immemorial just because someone is President of the United States?” asked Judge Robert Katzmann in oral arguments with Trump’s defense.
In July 2020, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts (appointed by President George W. Bush) backhand slapped Trump’s September 2019 lawsuit against the U.S. governing establishment. In his suit, Trump claimed that being president immunized him from being criminally investigated by any court. Judge Roberts rejection of Trump’s lawsuit has been lauded as a significant High Court ruling in U.S. history.
“No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” Roberts wrote in his final ruling.
If the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals does not rule in Trump’s favor in his crime-related legal showdown with Vance, the overturning of such a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court would be the former “The Apprentice” host’s last resort. High Court Judge Roberts’ anti-Trump ruling this past July makes a future scenario ruled in the embattled president’s favor look unlikely.
Vance has been lenient enough to allow time for Trump’s appeals to completely exhaust before pursuing any aggressive effort to put him behind bars. However, time is running out with so much weighing in the balance pertaining to this entire Trump saga and for the American nation as a whole.
As the next national Election Day approaches, a key legal battle for the U.S. presidential incumbent signals one thing: A noose in his home state appears to be tightening. But is the jig really up, or not? In the end, it will be the nation’s highest court of the land and not its elected office, which will set a definitive precedent for all U.S. presidents.
That goes for the trivial one America has today and her unknown leaders of tomorrow. The High Court must show and prove no one is above the law.