Two MSNBC legal analysts broke down a fascinating detail from the judge who ruled on eight years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns must be turned over to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr.
“A federal judge today has issued a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump’s lawyers, who are keeping his tax returns out of the hands of the Manhattan D.A. who has subpoenaed them in a criminal investigation,” Chris Hayes reported.
Hayes described Trump’s lawyers as “arguing essentially that not only can a president not be indicted while in office, but he cannot even be investigated at all.”
“As the president finds himself in more than half a dozen legal battles with Congress and others about what he can keep secret, this ruling is as bad an omen as it gets as to how judges will interpret his above-the-law arguments,” Hayes explained.
The host noted that Judge Amy Berman Jackson had ordered the White House to preserve records of Trump’s dealings with foreign leaders.
“Is that as extraordinary a condemnation of the level of trust she has in them as I feel like it is?” Hayes asked for Assistant U.S. Attorney Maya Wiley.
“Yes, it is extraordinary,” Wiley replied. “Because normally the government believes the government.”
“These are two federal entities, and normally you have full expectation that there will be some honor and some deep abiding of the law,” she explained. “If they tell you something, they’re putting their word on the table and you can accept it. So what the judge is saying is I don’t trust you.”
Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman agreed.
“One other point to add, the order ran expressly to the president, so he’s under personal order not to do anything. That is a stunning vote of no confidence from a district court,” Litman said. “To single out the president of the United States, that’s a spanking.”