Raymond Doherty 8 Oct 2019 03:33pm

Judge slams Trump's attempts to block tax returns

US president Donald Trump’s attempts to block the publication of his tax returns was “repugnant”, a federal judge has said

Judge Victor Marrero, in a 75-page opinion, dismissed Trump’s “extraordinary” claim that a sitting US president enjoys immunity from being the subject of a criminal investigation.

“The court cannot square a vision of presidential immunity that would place the president above the law.”

Marrero added, "The only thing truly absolute about presidential immunity from criminal process is the constitution's silence about the existence and contours of such an exemption”.

Trump’s lawyers immediately filed an emergency notice after the decision, and the appeals court ordered a temporary stay of the subpoena.

Despite the temporary stay it is a significant defeat for Trump in the long-running fight over his tax returns.

Last week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) intervened in the case marking its first entry into the lawsuit. It was in response to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office issuing a subpoena for eight years’ worth of the US president’s tax returns to his long-standing accountancy firm, Mazars USA.

The DoJ filed a request for a federal judge to temporarily block that subpoena on the grounds that "a number of significant constitutional issues" raised by the lawsuit needed adequate time to be assessed.

The Manhattan office, led by Cyrus Vance Jr, is investigating hush money paid to two women who claim that they had affairs with the president a decade ago, including porn actress Stormy Daniels. Trump denies the claims and has sued Vance’s office.

Some of that hush money was paid on the president’s behalf by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer- turned- whistleblower. Prosecutors are investigating whether Trump broke New York State laws by filing false records in order to reimburse Cohen.

Cohen is currently in jail, having pleaded guilty over the payments.