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Court Rules Trump Must Turn Over Tax Returns. He Appeals to Supreme Court (Again).

Here we go again.

Donald Trump gestures during the presidential debate.

Donald Trump’s tax information has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny ever since he bucked tradition by refusing to release them during the 2016 election, with various excuses and assurances that he would eventually release them that still haven’t resulted in anything. Well, really, they’ve been under scrutiny even longer, as the IRS has been auditing them for some time, and the 2016 election led to other investigators joining in, though Trump has fought them along the way.

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This story feels a bit like déjà vu, because we already had a story back in August that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Trump in his efforts to fight subpoenas of his tax returns, though we knew at the time that Trump would fight that ruling in an effort to prevent prosecutors from getting their hands on his information until after the 2020 election, at the very least. Fight it he did, which has put us back in basically the same spot again: A Manhattan federal court has rejected Trump’s attempt to block enforcement of the subpoena of his tax information by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and Trump wants the Supreme Court to weigh in.

Of course, he’s not really as invested in them weighing in as he is on the time it will take to go through that process, and he will likely succeed in his goal to put off the fallout of that information as much as possible. Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the lower court’s decision for the time being, temporarily allowing Trump to keep ignoring the subpoena, until they’re able to fully take up the case on whether or not they’ll overturn the ruling altogether. It seems unlikely that they’d ultimately overturn the decision, since they basically already ruled against Trump on the matter back in July, but if you’re thinking, “Hey, wait, this is starting to sound kind of circular,” you’ve caught on to Trump’s plan.

But while the delay tactics may allow him to stall the release of any more information than what we’ve already gotten from the New York Times, he can’t put off the criminal investigation of his business forever. Perhaps that’s why he’s so invested in getting another justice appointed to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible, at the expense of everyone who would benefit from more COVID relief. Maybe he thinks he can get the whole thing shut down with enough friendly judges, although the ones he already placed there, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, ruled against him the last time around, so he shouldn’t count on it.

(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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