A week ago, the Supreme Court ruled Trump is not immune from turning over his tax returns to the Manhattan DA. But the presidents legal team wouldnt back down on Thursday.
A week after the Supreme Court ruled President Donald Trump is not immune from turning over his tax returns and other financial records to the Manhattan district attorney, the presidents legal team said in a Thursday hearing they intended to keep fighting the wildly over-broad subpoenaan argument slammed by prosecutors as a back-door attempt to create temporary absolute immunity.
Federal Judge Victor Marrerowho originally presided over the case and denied the presidents efforts to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from subpoenaing eight years of Trumps tax returns last yearquestioned both sides in a Thursday hearing about what has changed since his previous ruling.
On Thursday, William Consovoy, one of the presidents lawyers, pushed back against Marreros skepticism, arguing that Vances wildly over-broad subpoena was not tailored to the DAs original investigation and was instead copied verbatim from the congressional committees who also sought Trumps tax returns.
He said Trump is still reviewing the subpoena and his team has not yet decided what arguments they plan to raise in an amended complaint against Vances request. Calling the legal action a fishing expedition, Consovoy argued Trump was a target for political reasons.
He added that while Marrero allowed Vances investigation into whether Trump and his company violated state laws with hush-money payments, he must now focus on the subpoena itself and narrow its scope.
Assistant District Attorney Carey Dunne hit back, arguing that the presidents legal team did not offer a single recitation of a single new fact that would sway the judges original ruling, and stressed that justice delayed is justice denied.
What the presidents lawyer is seeking here is delay, Dunne said, adding that the president achieves some sort of absolute immunity with each day that goes by. This lawsuit has delayed our collection of evidence. We accept that the president has the right to articulate any new claims, except constitutional immunity. But there's no special heightened standard. Its like hes a CEO.
While the federal judge made no rulings on Thursday, he endorsed the schedule the two legal parties had previously agreed on. The president will make whatever arguments he wants about the subpoena in a hearing later this month.
Our offices position, your honor, is, bring it on, Dunne said Thursday.
The hearing came a day after Trumps lawyers, in a joint submission memo with the DAs office, renewed their year-long effort to block or narrow Vances access to the presidents records. In the memo, the lawyers argued Vances subpoena was politically motivated and too broad.
The President should not be required, for example, to litigate the subpoenas breadth or whether it was issued in bad faith without understanding the nature and scope of the investigation and why the District Attorney needs all of the documents he has demanded, the presidents lawyers said in the 10-page memo. The parties likely will disagree about the appropriate scope of discovery.
Trump has been refusing to release his tax returns for years, overturning a precedent set by the previous six presidents. He argued in federal district court in New York that he couldnt be subpoenaed in a criminal case because he is a sitting president. The president lost several bids last year in lower courts to stop the subpoenas.
Similar to his argument against the slew of congressional committees who wanted his finance records, Trump argued that the legal move tried to compel the production of an enormous swath of the presidents personal financial information. His legal team slammed Vance for pointedly refus[ing] to eliminate the president as a target for indictment.
On Thursday, Dunne stressed the president's lawyers have had over a year to dig into the facts of their investigation and there was no attempt to harass.
He also stressed that their request for the subpoena does not burden Article II of the Constitutionwhich establishes the executive branch of the federal government. He said that there is no burden because the Mazars subpoena is not even served on the president. He's not the one responding to it.
Now that the immunity claims are gone, he does not even have standing for claims that belong only to Mazars. I do not think discovery will be necessary, Dunne said.
It is the presidents position that further proceedings are necessary, Trump's lawyers said in the memo. In those proceedings, the president will file a second amended complaint in which he will raise arguments that the Supreme Court held that he may make on remand.
On Wednesday, Vances office also asked Marrero in the joint memo to order the president to file any additional arguments as soon as possible in order to not lose evidence as a result of fading memories or lost documents and the risk that applicable statutes of limitations could expire. The District Attorneys Office also asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to immediately release its ruling to lower federal courts, warning that delaying a process that normally takes up to 25 days could thwart the ability for filing of criminal charges.
If the president has anything left to say the ball is now in his court, the district attorneys office wrote.