President Trump is suing his longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, and Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in an attempt to prevent the firm from releasing his tax returns and related documents.
The move comes in response to a subpoena issued by Vance to Mazars USA on September 16, demanding eight years’ worth of Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns. Vance’s office is investigating whether hush-money payments made by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential elections constitute an offense at the state level. The Trump Organization and Trump himself reimbursed Cohen for $130,000 paid to Daniels in return for silence regarding her alleged affair with the president.
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement Thursday that his team “filed a lawsuit this morning in Federal Court on behalf of the President in order to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case.” Trump hired a private firm to represent him in the case, declining to use lawyers from the Department of Justice.
During his 2016 campaign Trump said he would reveal his tax returns to the public, but he has since repeatedly refused to do so. Democrats have tried numerous methods to force their release via legal channels, so far without success. They argue that it is imperative to know whether Trump can be accused of conflicts of interest due to his continued involvement with his business organization while he serves in the presidency.
Earlier this year, a House committee subpoenaed eight years of accounting records from Mazars USA. Similarly in that case, Trump sued Mazars, as well as the committee itself. Trump lost that suit, but has appealed the verdict.