20 Sep 2019 02:55pm

Trump sues Vance and Mazars in response to subpoena

US president Donald Trump is suing Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance and accountancy firm Mazars USA in another attempt to block the release of his tax returns

In a complaint filed yesterday in the Manhattan Federal Court, the president’s lawyers contested the grand jury subpoena which Vance issued to Mazars three weeks ago, demanding Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns for the years 2011 to 1018 . Mazars has said it will fully comply with its legal obligations.

The lawyers argue that the subpoena is unconstitutional because the president is immune from criminal prosecution while he remains in office. If such a thing were allowed, they say in the complaint, it could seriously disrupt anything a president tried to do.

“All you need is one prosecutor, one trial judge, the barest amount of probable cause and a supportive local constituency, and you can shut down a presidency,” they add.

In the complaint, Trump makes it clear he thinks the Vance’s subpoena to Mazars is “a bad faith effort to harass the president by obtaining and exposing his private financial information, not a legitimate attempt to enforce New York law”.

Danny Frost, a spokesperson for the district attorney, said that Vance had received the president’s complaint and would answer it in court. He would not be commenting further during the legal process.

The district judge is to hear his arguments for enforcing the subpoena on 25 September.

Vance is currently investigating whether Trump paid hush money to two women – porn star Stormy Daniels and glamour model Karen McDougal, both of whom claimed they had sexual relations with him – during the 2016 election. He is trying to establish if Trump then put it through his business as a legal expense, an action which is illegal under New York law.