Earlier today, the never-ending quest by President Trump’s political opponents to acquire his infamous tax returns saw a new major development.
After a lengthy period of review—and considerable objection from the Trump administration—a federal judge has released a ruling denying his ability to withhold his personal financial records from investigators.
Trump’s challenge to the inquiry has been officially overruled.
Judge Victor Marrero, a Clinton-appointed federal judge, released a 75-page order this morning, directing the president to release his tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney. At the same time, Marrero also took the opportunity to issue a scathing criticism of Trump, stating that he “cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process…”
In response to this ruling, the Trump administration immediately filed an appeal, and it is unclear whether Trump intends to comply with the order in the coming days.
The Manhattan DA’s investigation pertains to alleged “hush money” payments made by the Trump campaign to two women, adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom Trump is said to have been romantically involved in the past.
According to the allegations, Trump’s team paid both women an undisclosed amount of money prior to the 2016 election in an attempt to protect his reputation.
Although both women remained silent for a brief time, last year, Daniels came forward, making headlines with her accusations, which led to a lawsuit and a book detailing the affair in graphic detail. Likewise, McDougal also revealed the details of her alleged affair with Trump, making statements in interviews with major media outlets both before and after the election.
The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether Trump violated campaign finance laws by making payments to the two women. Thus far, the only person found guilty of any wrongdoings was Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney who arranged the payments. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of multiple felonies, including fraud and campaign finance violations.
Although Cohen implicated Trump in his criminal activities during his testimony, there has so far been no concrete evidence proving his claims.
For his part, Trump has maintained that the entire investigation is politically motivated and is little more than a thinly-veiled attempt by his political opponents to discredit his presidency.
Either way, if the appeal fails and the president’s tax returns are made public, we may soon have an answer as to what really happened.