Ultimate Resource On Trump Taxes
A judge rejected the president’s argument that he was immune from criminal investigations. Trump Taxes: President Ordered To Turn Over Returns To Manhattan D.A. Ultimate Resource On Trump Taxes
A federal judge on Monday rejected a bold argument from President Trump that sitting presidents are immune from criminal investigations, a ruling that allowed the Manhattan district attorney’s office to move forward with a subpoena seeking eight years of the president’s personal and corporate tax returns.
Lawyers for Mr. Trump quickly told the court they would appeal the ruling from Judge Victor Marrero of Manhattan federal court. An appeal is likely to mean further delays.
In a 75-page ruling, Judge Marrero called the president’s argument “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.” Presidents, their families and businesses are not above the law, the judge wrote.
The judge’s decision came a little more than a month after the Manhattan district attorney subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for his personal and corporate returns dating to 2011. The demand touched off a legal showdown that raised new constitutional questions and drew in the Justice Department, which supported the president’s request to delay enforcement of the subpoena.
The president’s lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., declined to comment.
Mr. Vance’s office has been investigating whether any New York State laws were broken when Mr. Trump and his company reimbursed the president’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, for payments he made in the run-up to the 2016 election to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who had said she had an affair with Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump has denied having an affair with Ms. Daniels.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers sued last month to block the subpoena, arguing that the Constitution effectively makes sitting presidents immune from all criminal inquiries until they leave the White House.
The lawyers acknowledged that their argument had not been tested in courts, but said the release of the president’s tax returns would cause him “irreparable harm.”
Mr. Vance’s office asked Judge Marrero to dismiss Mr. Trump’s suit, saying a grand jury had a right to “pursue its investigation free from interference and litigious delay” and rejecting his claim to blanket immunity. The judge was appointed by President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the investigation by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, politically motivated. Mr. Vance has accused the president and his team of trying to run out the clock on the investigation.
Last week, lawyers with Mr. Trump’s Justice Department jumped into the fray, asking the judge to temporarily block the subpoena while the court takes time to consider the “significant constitutional issues” in the case.
The Justice Department, led by Attorney General William P. Barr, did not say whether it agreed with Mr. Trump’s position that presidents cannot be investigated. But, citing the constitutional questions, the department said it wanted to provide its views.
The Constitution does not explicitly say whether presidents can be charged with a crime while in office, and the Supreme Court has not answered the question.
Federal prosecutors are barred from charging a sitting president with a crime because the Justice Department has decided that presidents have temporary immunity while they are in office.
But in the past, that position has not precluded investigating a president. Presidents, including Mr. Trump, have been subjects of federal criminal investigations while in office. Local prosecutors, such as Mr. Vance, are also not bound by the Justice Department’s position.
As part of a temporary deal reached last month, Mr. Vance’s office agreed not to enforce the subpoena until two days after Judge Marrero issued a ruling, which would give Mr. Trump a chance to appeal if he lost. But that agreement was to expire at 1 p.m. on Monday.
The president and his lawyers have fought vigorously to shield his tax returns, which Mr. Trump said during the 2016 campaign that he would make public but has since refused to disclose.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers have sued to block attempts by congressional Democrats and New York lawmakers to gain access to his tax returns and financial records. They also successfully challenged a California law requiring presidential primary candidates to release their tax returns.
If Mr. Vance ultimately prevails in obtaining the president’s tax returns, they would not automatically become public. They would be protected by rules governing the secrecy of grand jury investigations unless the documents became evidence in a criminal case.
Appeals Court Puts on Hold Order That Trump Release Tax Returns
Judge rules President Trump isn’t immune from criminal investigations while in office; appeals court blocks immediate enforcement of subpoena.
A federal judge in New York on Monday ruled President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over eight years of his personal and business tax returns, an order immediately put on hold by an appeals court.
The decision came in a lawsuit filed by Mr. Trump against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Mazars USA LLP, his longtime accounting firm. Mr. Trump sought to block a subpoena for his tax returns that state prosecutors sent to the accounting firm, saying it was unconstitutional to subject a sitting president to what he called the “criminal process.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyers filed an emergency appeal minutes after the ruling, leading a judge from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put the ruling temporarily on hold “because of the unique issues raised by this appeal.” Mr. Vance’s office asked the court to hear arguments on the matter this week, but it isn’t clear when the panel will rule.
Mr. Vance’s office sent the subpoena to Mazars in August as part of its probe into whether payments made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, and how these payments were recorded, violate a state law against falsifying business records.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero rejected the idea that a president couldn’t be investigated while in office. “This Court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity from judicial process,” wrote Judge Marrero, an appointee of President Bill Clinton.
The judge said he recognized that subjecting a president to certain criminal proceedings, such as imprisonment, would interfere with his official duties. But the idea that the president, his business entities, relatives and private activities are immune from any criminal process is too broad, he said.
“This Court finds aspects of such a doctrine repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values,” Judge Marrero wrote.
Responding to the ruling on Twitter, Mr. Trump wrote, “The Radical Left Democrats have failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing local New York City and State Democrat prosecutors to go get President Trump. A thing like this has never happened to any President before. Not even close! “
A spokesman for Mr. Vance, a Democrat, declined to comment. Within minutes of the ruling, lawyers for Mr. Trump appealed the decision to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last week, the Justice Department weighed in on the case, asking the judge to temporarily block enforcement of the subpoena to allow for further consideration of the legal issues. The Justice Department lawyers also said the dispute should remain in federal court, not state court as requested by Mr. Vance’s office.
In a letter to the judge, prosecutors from Mr. Vance’s office said delaying enforcement of the subpoena would likely result in the statute of limitations expiring for state crimes under consideration. They asked Judge Marrero to dismiss the case. “The Plaintiff’s only goal in this litigation, now supported by the DOJ itself, is to obtain as much delay as possible, through litigation, stays, and appeals,” the state prosecutors wrote.
The state probe comes on the heels of a federal investigation into hush-money payments that concluded this summer. Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to charges including violating campaign-finance laws as a result of that investigation, is now in federal prison.
Mr. Vance’s prosecutors have said the tax returns would remain confidential because they are part of a grand-jury proceeding. During a hearing, a lawyer for Mr. Trump said he didn’t think Mr. Vance’s office could make this promise.
“We do not know how the district attorney will respond to a subpoena from Congress,” said the lawyer, William Consovoy. “Would those secrecy laws trump that subpoena?”
Several disputes over Mr. Trump’s tax returns are making their way through federal courts. In New York, a federal appeals court is weighing a case in which Mr. Trump sued Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. to block the banks from complying with congressional subpoenas. In California, a federal judge temporarily suspended a new state law requiring presidential candidates to make their tax returns public in order to appear on the state’s primary-election ballot.
House Democrats May Pursue Eight Years Of Trump’s Tax Returns, Appeals Court Rules
Appointed by Trump, Judge Neomi Rao was the lone dissenting vote. Trump may appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump on Friday lost his appeal to block House Democrats from gaining access to his tax documents from his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA.
The ruling, made by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, means that Mazars must turn over eight years of the president’s long-secret accounting records. However, Trump may still appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
In a 2-1 ruling, the judges upheld a lower court ruling and rejected arguments made by the president’s legal team that a House Oversight and Reform Committee’s investigation into his financial records has no legitimate legislative purpose.
“A congressional committee, as committees have done repeatedly over the past two centuries, issued an investigative subpoena, and the target of that subpoena, questioning the committee’s legislative purpose, has asked a court to invalidate it,” the majority opinion states. “The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the president of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one.”
“We detect no inherent constitutional flaw in laws requiring presidents to publicly disclose certain financial information,” the opinion states. “And that is enough.”
D.C. Circuit Court Judge David S. Tatel, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, wrote the majority opinion. He was joined by Judge Patricia Millett, an appointee of former President Barack Obama. Trump appointee Judge Neomi Rao dissented.
The case dates back to April, when the House Oversight and Committee subpoenaed the president’s accounting firm.
The move marks a significant legal blow to Trump and will likely only fuel the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into the president.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have been on a hunt for Trump’s tax returns since he bucked decades of tradition when he refused to release them during the 2016 election cycle.
Though not required by law, every major party presidential nominee since the 1970s has chosen to publicly release his or her tax returns except for Gerald Ford, who only released a summary. Financial disclosures can help paint a fuller picture of a candidate’s business positions and interests by providing information about financial dealings, such as investments, donations, business relationships, assets and possible conflicts of interests.
Since clinching the presidency, Trump has argued that he cannot disclose his returns, because he is being audited by the IRS — even though an audit does not prevent a taxpayer from releasing his or her own tax documents. Though he has vowed to fight “all the subpoenas” lodged by Democrats seeking his financial records, House Democrats have ramped up their efforts to obtain his tax returns in recent months.
Judge Orders Trump To Pay $2 Million For Misusing His Foundation
The money raised “was used for Mr. Trump’s political campaign and disbursed by Mr. Trump’s campaign staff,” the judge noted.
President Donald Trump must pay a $2 million judgment for improperly using his Trump Foundation charity to further his 2016 presidential campaign, a New York state judge ruled Thursday.
President Donald Trump must pay a $2 million judgment for improperly using his Trump Foundation charity to further his 2016 presidential campaign, a New York state judge ruled Thursday.
The order appears to bring to an end the New York attorney general’s lawsuit against the president and three of his oldest children over the now-shuttered foundation, which the attorney general said had engaged in repeated wrongdoing.
“Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more,” then-Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleged in a statement late last year.
In her seven-page ruling, New York Supreme Court Justice Salliann Scarpulla wrote, “Mr. Trump’s fiduciary duty breaches included allowing his campaign to orchestrate the Fundraiser, allowing his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the Funds, and using the Fundraiser and distribution of the Funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign.”
Trump Rebuffed In Bid to Keep Tax Returns from Manhattan DA
President’s attorneys vowed to appeal to Supreme Court a ruling ordering his accountant to turn over his financial records.
A federal appeals court dealt President Trump another setback in his effort to keep his tax records secret, ruling Monday that the president’s accounting firm must comply with a New York grand-jury subpoena for his financial information.
The 3-0 ruling rejected Mr. Trump’s attempt to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. from subpoenaing the president’s financial information from his longtime accountant, Mazars USA LLP.
Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said Monday that the president would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Vance has agreed not to enforce the subpoena during such an appeal, meaning Mazars won’t have to comply immediately with the document requests.
“The issue raised in this case goes to the heart of our republic,” Mr. Sekulow said. “The constitutional issues are significant.”
A spokesman for Mr. Vance declined to comment.
Mr. Vance subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s tax returns in August as part of his investigation into whether the recording of payments to former adult-film performer Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal violated a law against falsifying business records. In September, Mr. Trump sued Mazars and Mr. Vance in federal court to block the subpoena while he is in the White House.
The three-judge panel from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York declined to rule on Mr. Trump’s lawyers’ broad assertion that a president is immune from all aspects of a criminal investigation.
“We conclude only that presidential immunity does not bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce non‐privileged material, even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the President,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Katzmann, in a decision joined by Judges Christopher Droney and Denny Chin.
The panel sent Mr. Trump’s lawsuit back to the district court judge, disagreeing with his decision to toss the entire case. But Mr. Trump’s attorneys’ promise to appeal means the Supreme Court could ultimately decide whether Mazars must comply with the subpoena.
The court didn’t broadly address the issue of whether a president himself, and not a third party, could be required to produce documents for a state criminal investigation.
“We emphasize again the narrowness of the issue before us,” Judge Katzmann wrote. “This appeal does not require us to consider whether the President is immune from indictment and prosecution while in office, nor to consider whether the President may lawfully be ordered to produce documents for use in a state criminal proceeding.”
Mazars has declined to participate in the case but has said it would comply with its legal obligations.
Prosecutors for Mr. Vance argued the subpoena was valid and that the case belonged in state court.
In repeatedly rebuffing bipartisan calls to release his tax returns, Mr. Trump has broken with precedent set by presidents from both major parties dating back to the 1970s, most of whom made such records public voluntarily.
His lawsuit against Mr. Vance is one of several legal attempts by the president to block subpoenas for his tax returns.
In April, Mr. Trump, his three adult children and his real-estate businesses sued Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. in an attempt to block the banks from complying with congressional subpoenas for tax returns and other information. That case is also pending before the federal appeals court in New York.
Mr. Vance’s investigation stems from the arrangement of hush-money payments made to Ms. Daniels and Ms. McDougal. Mr. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen admitted to violating campaign-finance law by arranging the payments to quash news reports during the 2016 election that Mr. Trump had previously had affairs with both women. Mr. Trump has denied those allegations and any wrongdoing.
Mr. Vance’s investigators have interviewed Mr. Cohen, who is now in prison, as part of their probe.
During arguments in October, the three judges appeared skeptical of the president’s sweeping claim of immunity from any investigation or prosecution while in office.
During a discussion of a hypothetical situation in which Mr. Trump shoots someone while standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue—an apparent reference to a 2016 remark the president made while campaigning—Judge Chin asked whether local authorities could investigate the crime.
“Once a president is removed from office, any local authority” could investigate or prosecute him, said William Consovoy, a lawyer representing the president.
“Nothing could be done, that’s your position?” asked Judge Chin.
“That is correct,” Mr. Consovoy said.
Appeals Court Rebuffs Renewed Trump Bid to Block House Subpoena for Financial Records
Court order sets stage for emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to reconsider a ruling that allowed a House committee to subpoena President Trump’s financial records from his longtime accounting firm, a move that gives the president a week to seek emergency intervention from the Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump’s lawyer said the case would be appealed to the high court.
The president already is expected to file emergency papers with the Supreme Court Thursday in a separate but related case in which lower courts ruled Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. could enforce a grand jury subpoena that seeks the president’s tax returns and other records from the same accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP.
Wednesday’s action came in a case where the House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena to Mazars for eight years of financial records related to Mr. Trump, his real-estate company, his foundation and other entities. The subpoena seeks “all statements of financial condition, annual statements, periodic financial reports, and independent auditors’ reports” and related notes and communications.
A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last month held the subpoena was valid and enforceable, in a 2-1 ruling.
“Contrary to the president’s arguments, the committee possesses authority under both the House rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply,” Judge David Tatel wrote in the Oct. 11 opinion.
The House Oversight Committee said the records were important for its examination of ethics and conflict-of-interest issues in the executive branch, as well as the accuracy of Mr. Trump’s federally required financial disclosures.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued the committee was seeking the information to score political points and had no legitimate purpose that is tied to Congress’s authority to enact legislation.
The Trump legal team asked the appeals court to reconsider, this time with all active judges on the court participating. The D.C. Circuit on Wednesday denied that request by an 8-3 vote.
The majority didn’t comment on the court’s order, but three conservative judges, including two appointed by Mr. Trump, registered dissents.
The court’s ruling poses a “threat to presidential autonomy and independence” that is far greater than previous court decisions, Judge Gregory Katsas wrote in one of the dissents.
The appeals court in a previous order said it would give Mr. Trump a week after it ruled on his reconsideration request to seek relief from the Supreme Court.
“In light of the well reasoned dissent, we will seek review at the Supreme Court,” Mr. Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, said.
Judge Narrows Path For House To Obtain Trump’s New York State Tax Returns
The House would have to wait two weeks after making such a request while a court considers its lawfulness.
President Trump won a court ruling on Monday evening that would limit the ability of the Democratic-led House of Representatives to obtain his state tax returns from New York until a federal court could decide whether the request was lawful.
Calling the case “extraordinary,” U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols issued an order directing the House to tell Mr. Trump if it plans to request his tax returns from New York state officials.
Judge Nichols further ordered that the House would have to wait 14 days after a request for the records while a federal court considers the central question in the lawsuit: whether the House can lawfully request and obtain Mr. Trump’s state tax returns.
It is another twist in a long, drawn-out legal fight over Mr. Trump’s private financial information. Several similar cases are winding their way through the court system as Democrats in Congress have sought to obtain Mr. Trump’s tax and banking records as part of numerous investigations.
In addition to the case before Judge Nichols over Mr. Trump’s New York state tax returns, federal courts are also grappling with whether the Internal Revenue Service has to turn over Mr. Trump’s federal returns and whether Congress can request records from his accounting firm.
The lawsuit before Judge Nichols came about after New York passed a law in July authorizing the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to release state tax returns of federal officials who file in New York. Mr. Trump sued pre-emptively to stop the Democrats from making a request.
Democrats in Congress have requested Mr. Trump’s federal tax returns from the IRS under a different law. However, they haven’t said if or how they will request Mr. Trump’s state tax returns.
During the 2016 campaign, President Trump declined to voluntarily release his tax returns, breaking with decades of tradition for presidential candidates. Mr. Trump has said he cannot release the records because of a continuing IRS audit, though no law prevents him from releasing them while under audit.
Supreme Court Suspends House Subpoena Seeking Trump’s Financial Information
High court now likely to consider case that strikes at heart of the U.S. Constitution.
The Supreme Court granted President Trump’s emergency request to suspend enforcement of a congressional subpoena seeking his financial records from his accounting firm, a move that could keep the documents from House Democrats for months—if they see them at all.
But in tandem with blocking the subpoena for now, the court signaled Mr. Trump would have to move quickly with his appeal, ensuring the president can’t delay proceedings through the 2020 election.
The high court’s action also makes it likely that the justices will agree to a full review of the president’s appeal after he files a formal petition with the court next month. Given the magnitude of the constitutional questions involved, the court’s decision to give Mr. Trump time to mount the appeal doesn’t come as a surprise.
The justices, in a brief written order on Monday, stayed an October appeals court ruling that upheld a subpoena by the House Oversight Committee to Mazars USA LLP. The committee is seeking eight years of financial records about Mr. Trump and his affiliated businesses as part of its probe into White House ethics issues, including whether the president is improperly profiting from his office.
Mr. Trump has said the Democratic-controlled House is using the subpoena as a political weapon that isn’t tied to any legitimate legislative purpose. The House panel said Mr. Trump is engaged in a legal assault on the authority of a coequal branch of government to hold the White House accountable for its actions.
The court, as is its custom with emergency stay orders, didn’t explain its reasoning. There were no recorded dissents.
The justices, as part of issuing the stay, said Mr. Trump must file his high-court appeal by Dec. 5. That timeline would give the court enough operating room to formally accept the case for review, hear arguments and issue a ruling during its current term, which runs through the end of June. The prospect of a June decision, however, means House Democrats will be waiting another seven months for a chance at the records.
The president’s lawyers, in their emergency request filed Nov. 15, argued that blocking the subpoena was especially important because the litigation raises “unprecedented separation-of-powers issues that warrant the court’s review.” The case “will have lasting consequences for the functioning of the presidency,” they said.
The oversight panel urged the court to deny the stay so it could move forward to collect the Trump financial records, noting the subpoena already has been pending for more than 200 days. The committee in court papers said it would suffer “severe harm…by being deprived of information it urgently needs to exercise its constitutional functions.”
The committee’s probe began before the House launched a formal impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump, and its focus is separate from the House’s examination of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. The House, however, has left open the possibility that it may bring articles of impeachment against the president for other conduct, including the financial dealings at the heart of the oversight panel’s investigation.
The case is one of two related matters currently pending at the Supreme Court. Mr. Trump is separately asking the justices to review rulings that allowed Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to enforce a similar subpoena to Mazars for Trump financial records—and tax returns—as part of a criminal investigation.
Mr. Vance is examining hush-money payments to two women who allege they had affairs with Mr. Trump.
Appeals Court Rules Against Trump on Subpoenas to Deutsche Bank, Capital One
President Trump had sought to quash subpoenas issued by House Democrats for financial records.
A federal appeals court ruled House Democrats can enforce subpoenas to two banks that seek President Trump’s financial records, as well as those of his family and their businesses.
The New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday rejected Mr. Trump’s request to block the subpoenas, which House committees issued earlier this year to Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp.
The court, in a divided ruling, said Congress had valid and lawful purposes for seeking the documents, even though the information was about the Trump family’s private financial and business affairs.
The court said the documents were relevant for investigations by the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees into the movement of illicit funds through the global banking system and efforts by foreign entities to influence the U.S. political process.
“The public interest in vindicating the committee’s constitutional authority is clear and substantial,” Judge Jon Newman wrote for the majority in a 106-page opinion that was joined by Judge Peter Hall.
The Second Circuit did order some limited exceptions to the subpoenas in order to prevent disclosure of sensitive personal information about the Trump family.
The appeals court agreed to stay its ruling for a week in order to give Mr. Trump the opportunity to seek emergency intervention from the Supreme Court.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said the subpoenas were invalid. “We are evaluating our next options including seeking review at the Supreme Court,” he said.
Judge Debra Ann Livingston objected to core parts of the ruling in a 59-page dissent, saying the subpoenas were “deeply troubling” in their breadth and raised separation-of-powers concerns. She would have required the House committees to provide additional support for why the Trump financial records were pertinent to the congressional investigations and should be disclosed.
The case is similar to one that has been litigated in Washington, D.C., in which House Democrats have sought records from Mr. Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP. Lower courts ruled against the president, but the Supreme Court last month suspended those subpoenas for now while the president mounts a high court appeal.
Also pending before the high court is a separate Trump appeal that seeks to challenge a subpoena Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. issued to Mazars for Trump financial records—and tax returns—as part of a criminal investigation. Mr. Vance is examining hush-money payments to two women who allege they had affairs with Mr. Trump.
The Supreme Court could announce in the next few weeks whether it will review those cases.
Supreme Court Paves The Way For N.Y. Prosecutor To View Trump Taxes
Trump subpoena cases sent back to lower courts, likely delaying any possible release of records until after presidential election.
The Supreme Court paved the way for a New York prosecutor to enforce a subpoena for President Trump’s financial and tax records, but issued a mixed decision in a related case involving subpoenas from Congress.
The decisions—both on 7-2 votes on Thursday—send the cases back to lower courts, where Mr. Trump can raise additional objections to the subpoenas. The rulings put off, likely until after the November election, the attempts to explore Mr. Trump’s finances.
In the New York case, the court rejected Mr. Trump’s overarching claim that as president, he enjoys absolute immunity from the disclosure of information sought by prosecutors.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. had issued a subpoena to Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, seeking years of Trump financial documents and tax records as part of a criminal investigation into hush-money payments to women who claim to have had affairs with Mr. Trump.
In the congressional case, the high court said the lower courts were too quick to side with three House committees seeking records from the president’s accountants and bankers, rebuffing House arguments about the scope of its subpoena power and finding that it failed to recognize the prerogatives of the executive branch.
The court laid out its own criteria for considering congressional subpoenas involving the president—and sent the case back to lower courts for further review.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote opinions in both cases. The court’s liberal members and both of Mr. Trump’s appointees were in the majority. Conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.
“This is all a political prosecution,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning. “I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!”
The president added in a separate tweet that he felt he was not being treated fairly. “Courts in the past have given “broad deference”. BUT NOT ME!” he wrote.
But Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, had a very different reaction to the news.
“We are pleased that in the decisions issued today, the Supreme Court has temporarily blocked both Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining the President’s financial records,” he said in a statement. “We will now proceed to raise additional Constitutional and legal issues in the lower courts.”
Mr. Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, said: “This is a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one—not even a president—is above the law.” His statement further said, “Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury’s solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead.”
The House Oversight Committee, investigating ethics issues in the executive branch, issued a subpoena to accounting firm Mazars USA LLP for eight years of financial records related to Mr. Trump, his real-estate company, his foundation and other entities belonging to the president.
A pair of other House committees—the Financial Services and Intelligence Committees—issued subpoenas seeking a range of Trump records from Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp.
Deutsche Bank since 1998 has led or participated in loans of at least $2.5 billion to companies affiliated with Mr. Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said after the rulings that the House would continue its press in lower courts to obtain Mr. Trump’s financial records as part of its oversight of the executive branch.
“The path that the Supreme Court has laid out is one that is clearly achievable by us in the lower court and we will continue to go down that path,” she said.
On Twitter, former Vice President Joe Biden, the president’s presumptive Democratic challenger, pointed to an October 2019 video of him calling on Mr. Trump to “release your tax returns or shut up.”
The president has been fighting the release of his tax and financial documents since his presidential campaign, when he became the first presidential candidate in four decades not to release his tax returns.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump promised to release his tax returns following the completion of an audit, but he never followed through on that promise. Polls show the majority of the public believe he should release his tax returns.
Mr. Trump’s niece, Mary L. Trump, wrote in a memoir set to be released next week—a copy of which was reviewed by the Journal—that she leaked critical financial documents about the Trump family to the New York Times in 2017 in an effort to damage the president.
The Intelligence Committee said it needed the information as part of its probe of foreign influence in the U.S. political process, including whether foreigners have financial leverage over the Trump family and its enterprises. The Financial Services Committee is investigating bank-lending practices, including to Mr. Trump and his businesses.
Mr. Trump filed suit to stop the accountants and bankers from turning over the records. He argued that House committees infringed on his prerogatives as chief executive, and that the Constitution prohibits state prosecutors from subpoenaing records of a sitting president.
In 1974, the Supreme Court required President Nixon to obey a subpoena for tapes and other records related to the Watergate investigation. In 1997, the court likewise ordered President Clinton to comply with a private lawsuit brought against him over sexual harassment allegations.
House investigators and state prosecutors argued that the burdens on Mr. Trump were minor compared with those cases, as the subpoenas were directed to third parties and the president need do nothing in response.
Lower courts upheld the subpoenas for the Trump records, but they have been blocked during the Supreme Court appeal.
Manhattan Prosecutor Seeking Trump Taxes Cites ‘Possibly Extensive And Protracted Criminal Conduct’
District attorney’s office points to public reports of alleged fraudulent financial activities by Trump Organization; White House says effort is part of ‘witch hunt’.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office said it is justified in seeking financial documents from President Trump and his company as part of a complex investigation into alleged insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers.
In a new legal filing Monday, District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. urged a federal court to allow the office to move forward with its investigation of “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” and to dismiss Mr. Trump’s most recent challenge to its subpoena, requesting eight years of records from his accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP.
“This is a continuation of the worst witch hunt in American history,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday.
The legal battle over Mr. Trump’s tax records dates back to August 2019, when the Manhattan district attorney’s office first subpoenaed Mazars. Mr. Trump sued to block the subpoena, arguing that a sitting president couldn’t be criminally investigated.
Last month, the Supreme Court rejected the president’s claims of immunity from state-level grand jury investigations. “In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence,’” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. “Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the President of the United States.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyers vowed to continue fighting the subpoena with new arguments. They filed an amended complaint in Manhattan federal court last week, calling the prosecutor’s subpoena overbroad and issued in bad faith
Mr. Vance on Monday said that argument “rests on the false premise that the grand jury’s investigation is limited to so-called ‘hush-money’ payments made by Michael Cohen on behalf of [Mr. Trump] in 2016.”
“The Mazars Subpoena is no different from many grand jury subpoenas routinely issued in white-collar crime investigations, which are typically dependent on financial and corporate records,” Mr. Vance said.
Court documents cited articles by The Wall Street Journal, which exposed an alleged 2016 payment to Stephanie Clifford, the former adult-film star known professionally as Stormy Daniels who claimed she had an affair with Mr. Trump, and by the Washington Post, which reported other accusations of fraudulent financial activities, including allegations the president inflated his net worth and property valuations to lenders and investors.
The president has denied the affair with Ms. Clifford and that he knew about the payments when they were made.
Mr. Trump has previously said his net worth fluctuates. “It goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feeling,” he told lawyers in a 2007 deposition.
Judge Throws Out Trump Challenge To Manhattan DA Subpoena For Tax Records
* President Trump’s effort to fight a subpoena for his tax records issued by the Manhattan district attorney was rejected on Thursday by a federal judge in New York.
* The move is another loss to the president in a high-profile case that has already made its way to the Supreme Court.
* U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said Trump failed to show that the subpoena would pose an unfair burden.
* He sided in favor of Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance, who has said his office is pursuing an investigation of potential violations of state law.
President Donald Trump’s effort to fight a prosecutor’s subpoena for his tax records was rejected Thursday by a federal judge, handing another loss to the president in a high-profile case that already made its way to the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said the president failed to show that the subpoena would pose an unfair burden, siding in favor of Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance Jr., who has said his office is pursuing an investigation of potential violations of state law. Trump is likely to appeal the decision to a higher court.
The president’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, said Trump will appeal the decision. It is unlikely that any records obtained via subpoena by Vance’s office will become public before the presidential election this fall, if at all.
The subpoena, directed to the president’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA, seeks the president’s personal and business records, including tax returns, dating to 2011.
The ruling by the New York federal judge comes a month after the Supreme Court rejected the president’s earlier claims of absolute immunity from state criminal subpoenas. While the top court rejected the immunity argument, it said the president was entitled to object to the subpoena on alternative grounds.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, the president argued that the subpoena was overly broad and politically motivated. But Marrero said those objections were essentially the same as the earlier immunity arguments.
Marrero wrote that he could not “mechanically credit” the president’s new arguments, likening them to “absolute immunity through a back door.”
Marrero dismissed the case with prejudice, effectively preventing the president from bringing new arguments to the court for why the subpoena should not be enforced.
Vance has been relatively opaque about the subject of his investigation. His office is known to be investigating hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels made on the president’s behalf by his former lawyer Michael Cohen in the run-up to the 2016 election. Daniels has said she had sex with Trump, but he has denied the affair.
More clues emerged in a filing earlier in August, in which Vance suggested he could also be pursuing an inquiry into potential bank and insurance fraud. Vance’s office declined to comment on Thursday’s ruling.
Trump has vigorously opposed calls for him to disclose his tax returns, breaking with the practice followed by all modern candidates for president. Trump is up for reelection against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in November.
New York Attorney General Investigating Trump Organization, President Trump’s Assets
New documents ask New York court to order the business and Eric Trump to comply with subpoenas.
The New York attorney general’s office is investigating whether the Trump Organization and President Trump improperly inflated the value of Mr. Trump’s assets in financial filings, according to court papers made public Monday that seek to compel company executives to comply with subpoenas.
The state’s top prosecutor opened the civil investigation in March 2019, after Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer and a former senior executive of the Trump Organization, provided Congress with copies of Mr. Trump’s financial statements and testified that his assets were inflated to secure favorable loans and tax benefits, according to the filings in Manhattan state court.
The attorney general’s office, in Monday’s filings, asked a New York court to order the Trump Organization and others to comply with civil subpoenas, including one issued for testimony from Eric Trump, who has led the Trump Organization since his father took office.
The office submitted the request Friday, and the court filings were made available on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention.
Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer and a longtime confidant of President Trump, gave sworn testimony to the state investigators over two days last month, according to the filings. Mr. Weisselberg was subpoenaed in March, the filings say, and he is expected to meet again with the office.
Other Trump Organization executives have declined to meet with the New York attorney general’s office or have withheld documents, citing privileged communications or claiming an overly broad inquiry, the filings say.
State prosecutors said they subpoenaed Eric Trump for testimony in May, but less than two days before his scheduled July 22 examination, lawyers for the Trump Organization canceled, saying the attorney general’s office’s questions to Mr. Weisselberg were “beyond the scope” of the civil inquiry.
As of last week, Eric Trump “has now refused entirely,” the attorney general’s office said in its filing, prompting it to ask the New York court to act.
“For months, the Trump Organization has made baseless claims in an effort to shield evidence from a lawful investigation into its financial dealings,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said Monday. “They have stalled, withheld documents and instructed witnesses, including Eric Trump, to refuse to answer questions under oath.”
The White House referred a request for comment to the Trump Organization.
A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization called it “a discovery dispute” and said the company had done nothing wrong. “While we have tried to cooperate in good faith with the investigation at every turn, the NYAG’s continued harassment of the company as we approach the election (and filing of this motion on the first day of the Republican National Convention) once again confirms that this investigation is all about politics,” she said in a statement.
Ms. James, a Democrat in a heavily Democratic state, has filed a number of lawsuits against the Trump administration. A central plank of her 2018 election campaign was to push back against Mr. Trump’s policies, which she says have harmed the state.
At issue are seven subpoenas for testimony and thousands of documents primarily involving several Trump Organization properties, including a Westchester County, N.Y., estate called Seven Springs and Trump National Golf Club in California. Mr. Trump donated conservation easements at both properties by placing permanent development restrictions on the property and taking tax deductions equal to the diminished value.
The New York donation generated a $21.1 million income-tax deduction, and the California donation yielded a $25 million deduction, according to the filings.
Those deductions hinge on appraisals of the value of the land before and after the easement, and the attorney general’s filing suggests that investigators are examining how those appraisals were done.
The filing also mentions 40 Wall Street, a lower Manhattan building with a $160 million loan, of which $20 million was personally guaranteed by Mr. Trump; and Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago, a hotel and residential complex.
The same filing suggests that investigators are trying to corroborate some of the testimony of Mr. Weisselberg, including how a loan forgiveness on Trump’s Chicago property was recognized as income and how the $21.1 million easement on the Seven Springs property was reflected on federal, state and city tax returns.
Mr. Weisselberg, who has worked for Mr. Trump and the family business for decades, was a critical figure in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office investigation into hush-money payments made to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Mr. Trump. Mr. Weisselberg was granted immunity to testify before a grand jury in that matter, which resulted in the conviction of Mr. Cohen on campaign-finance and other charges in 2018.
Mr. Trump has denied the affairs and has said he wasn’t involved in any wrongdoing.
The Trump Organization and its executives are also being investigated by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose office is embattled in a monthslong litigation to obtain financial documents from the president’s accountant. State prosecutors have said the grand jury subpoena was issued as part of a “complex financial investigation” into insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization.
New York Trump Investigations Appear To Be At Critical Junctures
Criminal, civil probes push forward with evidentiary disputes; Trump and his company claim investigations are political.
New York prosecutors and lawyers for President Trump are set to argue before a federal appeals court Tuesday over access to his tax returns, in one of two investigations involving Mr. Trump and his company that appear to be heating up in the state.
The hearing, in which Mr. Trump’s lawyers will ask the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the enforcement of a subpoena, comes in a yearlong dispute between the president and the Manhattan district attorney.
Both this criminal investigation and a separate civil one, by the New York attorney general, appear to be at critical junctures, as lawyers for the offices are engaged in court battles over what they say is important information for their investigations.
A lawyer for Mr. Trump and a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization didn’t respond to requests for comment. Mr. Trump has called the investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, a Democrat, the “worst witch hunt in American history.” The Trump Organization spokeswoman has previously said the attorney general’s probe is all about politics.
Both law-enforcement agencies have disclosed information in legal documents relating to the document and witness disputes, but some other details remain unknown.
In the criminal investigation, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. subpoenaed financial records, including eight years of tax returns, from the president’s accounting firm in August 2019. Mr. Trump sued the next month to block the subpoena.
The district attorney is conducting a financial investigation into possible insurance or bank fraud, the office said in court documents filed earlier in August.
The office referenced public accusations of fraudulent financial activities, including allegations the president inflated his assets and property valuations to lenders and investors to secure loans and obtain tax benefits.
Mr. Vance also has requested documents related to hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, both of whom claim they had affairs with the president. Mr. Trump has denied the affairs.
Mr. Trump in 2016 broke with four decades of precedent for presidential candidates by declining to release his tax returns.
Three courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, denied the president’s attempt to stop state prosecutors from obtaining the records. The high court in July sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero.
On Aug. 20, Judge Marrero again dismissed the lawsuit, calling Mr. Trump’s arguments “substantially the same” as those in his first attempt. Mr. Trump has said the subpoena was overbroad, was issued to harass him and that a sitting president is immune from criminal investigation.
The president asked the appeals panel to temporarily block enforcement of the subpoena until it rules on the case itself, leading to Tuesday’s arguments.
Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization also face a civil probe from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat. In that investigation, according to court documents, Ms. James is looking at whether Mr. Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of his assets on financial statements to obtain loans and get economic and tax benefits.
New details of the investigation were revealed last week in court filings in which Ms. James asked a judge to order the Trump Organization to provide documents and the testimony of people including Eric Trump, the president’s son.
The New York attorney general’s office, which opened its investigation after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified before Congress last year, said last week it has been stonewalled for months by the Trump Organization. Some of the disputes between the attorney general and the Trump Organization were over what testimony and documents were subject to attorney-client privilege.
The Trump Organization spokeswoman has previously said the organization tried to cooperate with the investigation in good faith.
The state attorney general’s office has said it is looking at financial dealings around Seven Springs Estate, a 212-acre property in Westchester County; 40 Wall Street, a mixed-use building in lower Manhattan; Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago; and Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles.
The office has said it brought the civil investigation under a state law that allows it to probe possible repeated fraud or illegality. The office typically attempts to shut down a company only in extreme cases, like if there was little or no legitimate business activity, said Scott Wilson, a former senior official at the New York attorney general’s office.
“At the end of the day, if the investigation uncovers illegal activity, they would likely seek an order to stop that conduct and direct restitution or damages be paid,” said Mr. Wilson, now a partner at law firm DLA Piper.
Ms. James could also refer the case to a local law-enforcement agency or ask permission for her office to open a criminal investigation.
Both investigations could continue well after the election. Mr. Vance’s office has said it won’t enforce the subpoena until shortly after the appeals court issues a decision on Tuesday’s arguments. Even then, if the office obtains the financial documents they are subject to grand-jury secrecy rules and are unlikely to be made public before the November election.
A court date hasn’t been scheduled in the dispute with the attorney general.
Appeals Court Temporarily Blocks Prosecutors’ Subpoena of Trump Tax Returns
Ruling is latest development in yearlong fight between president and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
Manhattan prosecutors can’t obtain President Trump’s tax returns during a pending appeal, a three-judge panel ruled Tuesday, handing a temporary win to Mr. Trump in his bid to shield financial documents from a criminal investigation.
The ruling, from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, is the latest development in a yearlong fight between Mr. Trump and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is conducting a financial investigation into the president and his company.
The three-judge panel heard arguments in the case earlier on Tuesday. The court scheduled arguments over the appeal for Sept. 25.
Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said he was pleased with the court’s decision. A spokesman for Mr. Vance declined to comment.
In court papers, Mr. Vance, a Democrat, has said he is investigating possible bank or insurance fraud. He has also requested documents related to hush-money payments made to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, which he has denied.
In August 2019, a grand jury convened by Mr. Vance issued a subpoena to Mr. Trump’s accounting firm for eight years of tax returns and other records. In September 2019, the president sued the district attorney, arguing he was immune from criminal investigation while in office.
That case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which this July rejected Mr. Trump’s claim of absolute immunity and sent the case back to the lower court. “The President is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas seeking his private papers nor entitled to a heightened standard of need,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.
After the trial judge again dismissed the case, Mr. Trump asked the appeals panel to block the subpoena during the case’s appeal. His lawyers have said they are no longer making the argument about absolute immunity but arguing the subpoena is overbroad and issued in bad faith.
On Tuesday, Judge John M. Walker Jr. questioned how one determines that a subpoena is too broad when the scope of the investigation isn’t public. He said the district attorney’s subpoena asked for information from numerous entities and parent companies and included activities in Europe and Dubai.
“It has the feeling of overbreadth, but there’s no way to measure,” the judge said.
Carey Dunne, general counsel for Mr. Vance, said because many financial transactions go through New York, the district attorney’s office conducts such probes routinely. He said the allegations the office is investigating were also in public reports.
“We would be remiss not to be exploring all these allegations that have been made,” Mr. Dunne said.
William Consovoy, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said if the documents were handed to the grand jury during the appeals process, that harm to the president couldn’t be undone.
Mr. Dunne said that if a court later denied access to the documents, prosecutors could convene a new grand jury or destroy the documents. “The toothpaste can be put back into the tube sufficiently to protect people’s rights,” he said.
Trump Perks For Weisselbergs Included Free Rent, Tax Preparer
When Allen Weisselberg’s son got married in 2004, Donald Trump offered the young couple a generous wedding gift: use of an apartment, overlooking Central Park, rent-free.
Market rent on the apartment, owned by the Trump Organization, would have totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars over the seven years the couple wound up living there. The move — carrying tax implications as well as benefits — in some ways brought the family nearer to the living arrangements of Trump’s own children.
The unusual deal is one of several that benefited the family of Weisselberg, Trump’s right-hand man on all matters financial.
Squat, bespectacled and mustachioed, Weisselberg once handled finances for Trump’s father. Donald Trump and Allen Weisselberg are contemporaries — only a year apart in age — but their relationship evolved over the years as Weisselberg went from helping a young Donald navigate the patriarch’s business to standing by his side as Trump ascended to the top role.
These days, Weisselberg is the Trump Organization’s trusted chief financial officer, the only non-family member to help oversee the trust set up by the president while he’s in the White House.
For years, Weisselberg commuted from a simple Long Island home in Wantagh to his office in Trump Tower, a far cry from the boss’s splashy lifestyle. That began to change in the early 2000s, with the Weisselbergs becoming more closely knit with the Trumps in ways unusual for an owner and his CFO, detailed in hundreds of pages of legal, financial, property and tax records reviewed by Bloomberg News.
Many transactions were indirect, benefiting Weisselberg family members. Weisselberg’s younger son acquired a unit in the same Central Park building where his brother received years of free rent and flipped it within within a few years for more than three times the purchase price.
The elder son, Barry Weisselberg, who works for the Trump Organization, went on to occupy yet another apartment where he didn’t pay rent in a Trump brownstone that has received scant attention.
Weisselberg’s sister-in-law was hired by the business to do compliance work. And Donald Bender, the Trump Organization’s accountant, handled tax preparation services for members of the family. While it’s unclear who paid, tax attorneys found the preparer’s dual role unusual.
In Trump’s world of pricey condo towers and hotels, some of the transactions may seem small. But they map a blurry line between personal and company matters, with assets allotted to the most important employee outside the Trump family.
What’s more, the property transactions exist in a muddy middle-ground between gifts and compensation, and most would have tax implications, lawyers say. Barry Weisselberg worked for Trump in the ice rink business in New York, and his use of the apartments could be considered either a gift for Trump’s tax purposes or additional income for the son on top of his salary.
Tax and compensation lawyers who reviewed the transactions, but did not want to comment about the Trump business, said that as a rule, employers can’t take the gift exemption for things of value provided to employees.
Most things of value, like free rent, are taxable income for employees unless an exception applies. A review of the young couple’s tax returns for four of the years they lived on Central Park South don’t flag the perk.
Many of the financial documents were provided to Bloomberg by Jennifer Weisselberg, who was married to Barry Weisselberg from 2004 until an acrimonious 2018 divorce. Post-judgment proceedings continue in New York Supreme Court.
Jennifer Weisselberg said much of the couple’s living costs had been covered by Trump’s company and her father-in-law. Financial statements submitted to the court show that her in-laws covered expenses such as rent and tuition immediately leading up to the separation.
Mary Mulligan and Tim Haggerty, attorneys for Allen Weisselberg at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP, and Alan Garten, general counsel for the Trump Organization declined to comment for this story. Barry Weisselberg didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The wedding gift offer of the apartment at 100 Central Park South came months before the young couple wed. After they arrived in early 2005, they paid only utilities — delivering checks to Trump’s assistant Norma Foerderer — for seven years.
Jennifer remembers the bill running about $400 a month. When the Weisselbergs moved out, the apartment was listed as a rental for $4,950 a month. It sold for $2.5 million in 2016.
During divorce proceedings, Barry Weisselberg described it as a corporate apartment. He’s a manager of the Trump-run Wollman Rink in Central Park.
The designation as a corporate apartment could be problematic for tax purposes. At seven years, the couple’s use wasn’t for temporary housing. Under federal tax law, lodging generally must be offered as a condition of employment if the value is to be excluded from wages. Barry Weisselberg held the rink job before and after his time at the apartment.
Bender served as accountant for both the Trump Organization and members of the Weisselberg family. “As a matter of firm policy and professional rules, we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients,” Ian Duncan, chief marketing officer for the firm, Mazars USA LLP, said in response to emailed questions about the transactions.
Even before the wedding gift, Trump transferred an apartment on the building’s fifth floor to Allen Weisselberg and his wife, Hilary.
Although city records show no sale price, they list a state transfer tax of $610 in 2000, which would suggest the Weisselbergs purchased the one-bedroom unit for about $152,000. Many of the units in the building needed renovation. They sold it to their younger son, Jack, for $148,000 three years later.
In 2006, Jack sold it for $570,000. He later joined Ladder Capital, which became one of Trump’s largest lenders, though people familiar with the matter say he wasn’t involved in Trump financing. Jack Weisselberg didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Other people in Trump’s innermost circle have made their homes in the company’s properties. In 2016, Bloomberg reported that the president’s son, Eric Trump, purchased two more units in the Central Park South building for about $350,000 each, and created a single, impressive apartment.
His sister, Ivanka Trump, bought a two-bed, two-bath unit in her father’s Park Avenue property in 2004 for $1.5 million. The following year, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, purchased a unit in the Park Avenue building for $5 million.
Around the time that Allen Weisselberg’s sons moved into the Central Park South apartments, the chief financial officer emerged from his modest surroundings. In 2002, he and his wife bought a Florida home a short drive from Mar-a-Lago. Typically press shy, he made an awkward appearance on Trump’s show, “The Apprentice.”
He and his wife moved from their Long Island home to an apartment in a Trump building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side along the Hudson River. The monthly rent on a two-bedroom unit in the building was recently listed at $7,000. (The building isn’t owned by Trump and has since removed his name.)
During Barry Weisselberg’s divorce in 2018, the Trump Organization provided an additional apartment on which the couple didn’t pay rent. It isn’t clear how the unit’s use was treated for tax purposes.
That apartment is in one of two townhouses on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where Trump has maintained a long-term lease that has gone mostly unnoticed. Though most of the buildings’ units have been rented to others, one hasn’t been for long stretches during the last two decades: the second floor unit at 163 East 61st Street.
Jennifer Weisselberg remembers being told by both her ex-husband and a Trump Organization executive who managed the property that the apartment, a few blocks from Trump Tower, had sometimes been visited by Trump himself. The table had a small TV of the kind he favors for watching cable news, paired with a phone. There was a four-poster bed with Roman columns and gold curtains.
“It was his style,” she recalled.
It’s currently listed for rent at $3,500 a month — furnished.
Trump CFO’s Family Tax Records Reviewed by New York Authorities
New York’s attorney general continues to gather information about President Donald Trump’s business, obtaining financial records this month from the family of the Trump Organization’s CFO that could provide further insights into the company’s operations and tax strategies.
The office of Attorney General Letitia James is reviewing tax records associated with a son and ex-daughter-in-law of Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, according to a person familiar with the matter. James’s office is conducting a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to secure loans or tax benefits, she has said.
Bloomberg News reported on Nov. 2 that members of the Weisselberg family, including Trump Organization manager Barry Weisselberg and his now ex-wife, Jennifer, had received perks including years of free rent in a company-owned building adjacent to Central Park and use of the company’s accountant for personal tax filings. The Bloomberg report was based, in part, on documents provided by Jennifer Weisselberg.
Mary Mulligan, a lawyer for Allen Weisselberg, said that her client had done nothing wrong.
The attorney general’s office and Alan Garten, general counsel of the Trump Organization, declined to comment. Barry Weisselberg didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Many of the benefits could create tax liabilities for the Weisselbergs, the Trump Organization or both, according to legal experts.
For example, employers normally can’t take a gift exemption for things of value provided to employees, according to tax and compensation lawyers who reviewed the transactions for Bloomberg but didn’t want to comment publicly about Trump’s business.
Also free rent would constitute taxable income for employees unless an exemption applies, they said. Barry and Jennifer Weisselberg’s tax returns for four of the years they lived on Central Park South don’t appear to account for the perk.
Allen Weisselberg, who managed finances for Trump as well as his father, Fred, is the company’s highest-ranking non-family employee and was appointed to help oversee the trust set up by the president while he’s in the White House.
Trump, who hasn’t conceded the Nov. 3 election as his team brings challenges in multiple states, is facing several major legal threats. Some legal experts anticipate that he’ll use his federal clemency power to help central figures from his campaign, administration or business — including a possible attempt to pardon himself.
That would help inoculate him from federal criminal investigations. But his pardon power wouldn’t extend to the civil probe conducted by James or a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.
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