Donald Trump’s latest bid to keep his long-sought tax returns under wraps has resulted in his lawyer making a brash contention: As the occupant of the Oval Office, Trump couldn’t be prosecuted even if he really did shoot someone in the middle of New York’s famed Fifth Avenue.
Trump is fighting New York prosecutors’ attempt to see his tax returns as part of a fraud investigation launched by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Daily Beast reports.
Speaking before a federal appellate court Wednesday, Trump’s legal team argued that New York has no right to the tax returns because Trump is basically untouchable while he is in office.
The DA’s office pushed back, citing Trump’s infamous boast that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters, and asking what if such a thing were to happen?
“Would we have to wait for an impeachment proceeding to be initiated?” asked Carey Dunne, the Manhattan district attorney’s general counsel, reports the New York Times.
Later during the proceeding, federal appellate court Judge Danny Chin posed the question to Trump’s legal team. Per the Times:
“Local authorities couldn’t investigate? They couldn’t do anything about it?” Judge Chin asked, adding: “Nothing could be done? That’s your position?”
To which, Trump lawyer William S. Consovoy replied:
“That is correct. That is correct.”
So, there you have it, folks. Looks like Trump really does believe he is above the law. But at least some courts are taking a dim view.
As the Times notes, Trump’s team launched its appeal after a lower court ruled for the state, finding that the contention he is untouchable was “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”
The appellate court didn’t indicate when or how it planned to rule, but as the Times reports, in any case, the panel doesn’t believe it’ll have the last say on this issue, expecting the matter to end up before the highest court in the land.
“This case seems bound for the Supreme Court,” [chief] Judge [Robert A.] Katzmann said early in the arguments, adding later, as the hearing wrapped up, “We have the feeling that you may be seeing each other again in Washington.”