After years of Donald Trump promising but failing to release his tax returns, on Feb. 22 the Supreme Court ordered former President Donald Trump to comply with a subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. asking for nearly a decade's worth of private financial records, including his tax returns.
According to the New Yorker's Jane Mayer, Vance is a famously low-key prosecutor, but he has been waging a "ferocious battle."
"His subpoena required Trump's accounting firm, Mazars U.S.A., to turn over millions of pages of personal and corporate records, dating from 2011 to 2019, that Trump had withheld from prosecutors and the public," Mayer writes.
Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths over the years to keep his tax returns hidden from the public. But according to Mayer and many other observers, Vance's subpoena will finally give legal authorities a window to his business empire to determine if any financial crimes were committed. But if there are any major revelations, the public won't know about them anytime soon unless criminal charges are filed. If any charges do result from the investigation, it will make Trump the first former president to be charged with a criminal offense.
When it comes to Trump's "remarkable record of impunity," Vance's office "could well be the only operable brake," Mayer writes.
"He has survived two impeachments, the investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller, half a dozen bankruptcies, twenty-six accusations of sexual misconduct, and an estimated four thousand lawsuits," writes Mayer. "And his successor, President Joe Biden, so far seems to prefer that the Department of Justice simply turn the page."
"As a result, the contest between Vance and Trump is about much more than a financial investigation. It's a stress test of the American justice system."
Read the full op-ed over at The New Yorker.