Two and a half years into his presidency, President Donald Trump‘s tax returns still remain a mystery—though not for a lack of trying. Following efforts by House Democrats and state lawmakers that have gotten tied up in the courts, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is the latest to join the ongoing fight, reportedly issuing a new subpoena to accounting firm Mazars USA. The New York Times reports that the D.A.’s office, led by Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr., is asking for “a range of tax documents” from both Trump himself and the Trump Organization, including Trump’s federal and state tax returns dating back to 2011.
The new subpoena is part of the district attorney’s ongoing investigation into the $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels, which former attorney Michael Cohen paid and was later reimbursed for by Trump and the Trump Organization. The Times previously reported that the Manhattan office had subpoenaed the Trump Organization and National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. over the summer as part of the new investigation, and CNN reports that Manhattan prosecutors recently interviewed Cohen at the federal prison where he’s serving a three-year sentence. According to the Times, Vance’s office is hoping to determine whether the Daniels payment violated any state laws, particularly if it was falsely accounted for as a legal expense. (Falsifying business records “can be a crime” in New York, the Times notes, though it only becomes a felony if the records were filed to “commit or conceal” an additional crime.) The district attorney has not said whether their broad request for Trump’s tax returns indicates that they’re expanding the scope of their inquiry.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Manhattan prosecutors will fare better at getting their hands on Trump’s taxes than other governmental bodies. House Democrats’ efforts to subpoena Trump’s tax returns is one of many Trump subpoenas to be tied up in the courts, and the president sued after New York state lawmakers passed a law allowing them to pass Trump’s state tax returns over to certain House committees if requested. The Trump Organization has previously referred to the Manhattan investigation as a “political hit job” and “harassment of the president, his family and his business,” though the Times reports that it has been complying with the previous subpoena issued for documents related to the company. As that suggests, Vance’s subpoena could potentially have a better chance at actually panning out than other Trump tax efforts, given that it’s part of an ongoing criminal investigation with a sitting grand jury. (It’s also possible that the Trump Organization could negotiate to limit the subpoena’s scope, the Times notes.) For their part, Mazars USA said in a statement to the Times that it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations”—though it didn’t say whether it, too, could soon be jumping into the legal fray with a lawsuit to block the subpoena of its own.
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