Trump tried to play chicken with the Manhattan DA -- and failed spectacularly: ex-federal prosecutor
President Donald Trump (MSNBC)

Former federal prosecutor turned CNN legal analyst Shanlon Wu explained that President Donald Trump shot himself in the foot demanding details about the investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.


Wu tweeted the recent report announcing Vance is investigating Trump and the Trump Organization for possible fraud. Trump presumably assumed that the investigation was merely a fishing expedition, demanding that Vance further justify his reasons for the subpoena they issued. That's exactly what they did, effectively disclosing that a grand jury was impaneled to look into Trump bank or tax fraud.

"Great example of Trump strategy back-firing - by forcing Manhattan DA's office to further detail/justify reasons for their subpoena they also forced disclosure of fact that Trump & his company under a live criminal investigation. Oops," tweeted Wu on Monday.

Vance has also opposed granting extensions on the subpoenas as Trump's lawyers have asked. The legal team for the president has worked to stall as much as possible, asking for extensions, then filing appeals, taking it to the Supreme Court. The stall tactics only brought the legal trouble closer to the election

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti noted that it has been "obvious for a while" that Vance wasn't fishing, he had evidence and a case. He noted that Vance has also argued that "granting extensions on subpoenas could effectively immunize Trump." In the filing Monday, Vance came "right out and [said] that they are investigating Trump's company." Mariotti noted it "is significant."

"This shows the DA is focused on specific criminal charges and not just poking around the financials," CNN legal analyst Elie Honig explained.

Former Obama administration acting-Solicitor General Neal Katyal said that these cases "can move quickly," once it became clear that Trump exhausted all of his tactics to delay.

Barbara McQuade similarly said that it was probably the best $200 filing fee Vance ever spent.

Read the full report on the Vance filing.