Donald Trump has made sweeping claims of presidential immunity in a rush to federal court to block Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s subpoena of eight years of tax returns as part of a grand jury proceeding.
Such assertions, Federal Judge Victor Marrero ruled in a persuasive decision, “would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings, including investigations, grand jury proceedings and subpoenas, indictment, prosecution, arrest, trial conviction and incarceration,” setting up a situation “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”
Now come the appeals. Vance should win, both at the federal level and in any state proceedings; the obtaining of already filed tax returns from Trump’s accountant places no burden on the president whatsoever. Final judgment should come quickly because there are statutes of limitations in the balance.
Assuming that’s what happens, the DA and other grand jury participants will be sworn to secrecy on the documents’ contents. Which is right and proper for such proceedings.
But that need not be the end of the matter. There must be a reason Trump and his lawyers, who relinquished 3,376 pages in response to the subpoena, balked right when the DA insisted upon viewing the tax returns. There’s clearly something in the income filings that the president wants to stay hidden.
The public has an interest in finding out what. The state Legislature must pass a law making public the state returns of all major elected officials, the president included. Not just allowing their confidential handoff to relevant committees of the U.S. Congress, another workaround that’s caught up in court.
Shine a light. Do it now.
New York Daily News