It never ends.
New York state prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed President Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, demanding eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns according to the New York Times, citing "several people with knowledge on the matter" - the gold standard in modern sources.
The subpoena was issued by the Manhattan DA's office last month following the launch of a criminal investigation into hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen - who pleaded guilty last year to eight charges; seven of which were unrelated to the Trump campaign, and one for breaking federal campaign finance laws. He is currently serving a three-year prison sentence.
At issue - Democratic Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (whose daddy was Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State - and who took money from Harvey Weinstein while declining to prosecute him for sexual assault - and who sought a reduced sex-offender status for Jeffrey Epstein) wants to see if Trump's reimbursement of Cohen violated any laws in New York, and whether Trump's accounting firm falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense.
In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime.
But it becomes a felony only if prosecutors can prove that the false filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. The tax returns and other documents sought from Mazars could shed light on whether any state laws were broken. Such subpoenas also routinely request related documents in connection with the returns. -New York Times
Congressional Democrats have been hunting down Trump's tax returns for years after the billionaire refused to do so, citing an ongoing IRS audit as well as the position that Trump Organization competitors would then have access to industry secrets.
Congressional Democrats have taken an aggressive approach, subpoenaing six years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, as well as personal and corporate financial records from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and Mazars USA.
The president has fought back to keep his finances under wraps, challenging the subpoenas in federal court. He has also sued to block a New York state law, passed this year, that authorized state officials to provide his state tax returns in response to certain congressional inquiries. By tying up the requests in court, Mr. Trump’s team has made it diminishingly likely that Democrats in Washington will get the chance to review them before the election next year. -New York Times
And while Trump and the Treasury Department have proven thus far successful in thwarting Democratic lawmakers' inquiries, it may not be as easy to fend off a subpoena in Manhattan.
According to Mazars, they will "will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations," adding that the company was legally prohibited from commenting on its work.
If the Manhattan DA is able to obtain Trump's tax returns, the Times notes that "the documents would be covered by secrecy rules governing grand juries, meaning they would not become public unless they were used as evidence in a criminal case."
The Times does not note, however, that the records would likely be leaked within 30 minutes to the Washington Post or similar.
State prosecutors also subpoenaed the Trump Organization in early August for records of the payments to Daniels and Cohen's reimbursement - a request which has been complied with according to the report.
"It’s just harassment of the president, his family and his business, using subpoenas as weapons," said Trump Org attorney, Marc L. Mukasey in a statement last month.
As part of its investigation, prosecutors from Mr. Vance’s office visited Mr. Cohen in prison in Otisville, N.Y., to seek assistance with their investigation, according to people briefed on the meeting, which was first reported by CNN.
Mr. Cohen also helped arrange for American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer, to pay Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who also said she had an affair with the president. Prosecutors in the district attorney’s office subpoenaed American Media in early August, as well as at least one bank. -New York Times
Will the Democrats' gambit pay off? Or will the ongoing "witch hunts" into President Trump backfire and turn him into a martyr?