Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump speaks at a meeting with business leaders on tax reform at the White House in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 2017. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Calling Trump's Claim That He Is Above the Law 'Repugnant,' Federal Judge Orders Release of President's Tax Returns

"This is great news for anyone who cares about holding Donald Trump accountable."

Julia Conley

A federal judge in New York Monday expressed disgust at President Donald Trump's argument that as president he is immune from criminal investigations, ruling that such a claim does not shield Trump from being required to publicize his tax returns.

Judge Victor Marrero said that Manhattan prosecutors can move forward with their subpoena for eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax returns as part of a criminal investigation into the president's reimbursement of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for payments to two women in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Trump's argument that he is above the law is "repugnant to the nation's governmental structure and constitutional values," Marrero said.

"This court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process as being countenanced by the nation's constitutional plan," wrote Marrero. "The expansive notion of constitutional immunity invoked here to shield the president from judicial process would constitute an overreach of executive power."

Marrero's rejection of the president's claim, in addition to the ruling itself, garnered attention on social media.

"Someday I hope we scratch our heads at the claims of presidential immunity as some of the weirdest monarchical thinking that had somehow crept into an American system of law," tweeted progressive law professor Zephyr Teachout.

The president has spent much of his nearly three years in office shielding his tax returns from public view, and went against a four-decade precedent of releasing his tax information while running for office, as other candidates have since 1974 in the name of transparency.

Trump's refusal to publicize his financial data has raised questions, particularly amid reports that the president's longtime creditor, Deutsche Bank, was raided in connection with the Panama Papers money laundering probe and that the president engaged in suspect tax schemes for years before beginning his political career.

The federal ruling in New York came days after reporting revealed that a whistleblower alleged interference with Trump's or Vice President Mike Pence's tax returns at the IRS, which audits both officials' tax information annually.

"Obtaining Trump's tax returns remains vital to determining whether he has manipulated our tax code as much as he has sought to manipulate our democracy," Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said in a statement Friday.

Trump's lawyers said Monday they would appeal Marrero's ruling, and the president won a temporary stay of the decision shortly after it was handed down.

The temporary stay expires on Wednesday, and the president's accounting firm, Mazars USA, has been ordered to begin delivering Trump tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney's office starting at 4:00 pm that day.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·


Health Minister Says 'Highly Transmissible' Omicron Hitting Young Children Hard in South Africa

In South Africa's worst-affected province, children under the age of five now make up the second-largest group being admitted to hospitals.

Julia Conley ·


Groups Tell UN Food Agency to Ditch 'Toxic Alliance' With Pesticide Association

"This partnership with CropLife is in direct conflict with FAO's mandate as a U.N. institution to fulfill human rights to health, adequate food, clean water and environment, and safe working conditions."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo