The Manhattan district attorney’s subpoena to President Donald Trump’s financial firm Mazars USA is bad news for Trump. And that’s why Trump’s lawyers are desperately trying so to get the subpoena thrown out.
Prosecutors are focused on a series of financial transactions that could relate to potential tax fraud, insurance fraud and bank fraud. They are also looking into alleged crimes that go beyond hush money payments made by the Trump Organization to two women who alleged that they had affairs with Trump. No matter how you cut it, this is bad for the president. Here’s why:
While criminal charges relating to hush-money payments are difficult to prove because they rely on proof of intent, New York prosecutors are focused on more easily provable, document-based frauds.
Trump has fought the subpoena by claiming that, as a sitting president, he held “absolute immunity” from criminal investigation. The Supreme Court firmly rejected that argument by a 7-2 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Trump-appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joining the four traditionally liberal justices in a cross-ideological majority.
The statements prosecutors made in court on Monday indicate they are determined to move quickly, and that they are focused on the most readily provable potential charges.
Indeed, prosecutors reportedly are investigating potential tax fraud based on intentional misstatements of the value of Trump Organization assets.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified in Congress in February 2019 that Trump inflated the value of his assets to secure bank loans and insurance policies.
If the black-and-white financial documents support any of these allegations — if they show, for example, that Trump or anyone else intentionally inflated or deflated the value of Trump Organization assets — then a criminal fraud charge could be in order.