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Trump continues legal fight to conceal financial records

IANS | July 16, 2020 11:31 AM

WASHINGTON:Lawyers for US President Donald Trump have said that he will continue his fight to shield his tax returns and financial records from a federal prosecutor who subpoenaed them, days after the Supreme Court ruled the President is not entirely immune to criminal investigation.

In a status report filed on Wednesday to a Manhattan federal judge overseeing the case, Trump's lawyers said they planned to argue that the subpoena issued by Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney seeking eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax returns in a criminal probe, is too broad and politically motivated, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The President should not be required, for example, to litigate the subpoena's 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 lawyers wrote to Victor Marrero, the judge who scheduled a hearing for Thursday.

The new filing came less than a week after the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 to reject the President's claim that he has absolute immunity to investigative subpoenas such as the one issued by Vance.

Trump's lawyers noted in the Wednesday filing that the Supreme Court in its ruling said Trump may argue that the subpoena seeks too much information, or intends to impede the President's constitutional duties or harass, manipulate or retaliate against him.

"The President intends to raise some or all of these arguments, " they added.

Lawyers for Vance's office, for their part, said in a joint filing on Wednesday that Trump's lawyers -- who argued that the case requires a more thorough factual record -- are demanding beyond what they are allowed, and that Vance could enforce the subpoena immediately but would give the President until July 27 to file an amended lawsuit.

Trump's lawyers told Marrero, who initially handled the case and to whom the Supreme Court returned the case after last week's ruling, that "further proceedings are necessary", and that an amended lawsuit would soon be filed.

Vance has been seeking Trump's financial records in part to investigate a hush money payment arranged by the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, now convicted and jailed, to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, allegations that the President denied.

Trump hasn't disclosed his tax returns since taking office in 2017, breaking both his promise made during the 2016 presidential campaign and a tradition kept by US presidential candidates for decades.

A new public opinion poll released Wednesday showed that two in three Americans wanted to see Trump's tax returns.

Trump said in November 2019 that he would make public his financial records before Election Day 2020, which falls on November 3.

The disclosure, he claimed, would only serve to prove that he is much richer than people thought.

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