Supreme Court allows release of Trump tax returns

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2:18 p.m. ET, February 22, 2021
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11:23 a.m. ET, February 22, 2021

These are the Trump financial documents that Manhattan District Attorney Vance will get to see

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue and Kara Scannell

Today's Supreme Court ruling means that the grand jury investigation into alleged hush money payments and other issues will no longer be hampered by former President Trump's fight to keep the documents secret.

The documents, however, will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release.

The subpoenas span documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including Trump's tax returns, from his long time accounting firm, Mazars. The documents relate to the Trump Organization's employment of Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen and hush money payment Cohen allegedly made to two woman who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's office is investigating whether the Trump Organization violated state laws and is looking into the legality of tax deductions, including from conservation easements and consulting fees the company took, as well as what the Trump Organization told lenders and tax authorities about the value of its assets.

Vance's investigation started its investigation in earnest in August 2019, initially looking into the hush-money payments Cohen facilitated to silence two women's claims that they had affairs with Trump. The former President has denied the affairs.

Vance's office has said the records are crucial to the investigation, in part because of the statute of limitations for the potential crimes they are investigating.

10:37 a.m. ET, February 22, 2021

The events that led to today's ruling

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

Today's Supreme Court ruling to clear the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Trump's tax returns is the culmination of an ongoing battle between the Manhattan DA's office and the former President.

Here's a look back at the events that took place before today's decision:

  • Last July, the Supreme Court, voting 7-2, rejected Trump's broad claims of immunity from a state criminal subpoena seeking his tax returns and said that as president he was not entitled to any kind of heightened standard unavailable to ordinary citizens.
  • The justices sent the case back to the lower court so that the President could make more targeted objections regarding the scope of the subpoena.
  • In October, a federal appeals court said "there is nothing to suggest that these are anything but run-of-the-mill documents typically relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct."
  • Trump's personal lawyers then took the case back to the Supreme Court, urging the justices to put the lower court ruling on hold while the justices considered whether to take up the appeal.

10:17 a.m. ET, February 22, 2021

Manhattan District Attorney responds to Supreme Court order: "The work continues"

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance released the following statement Monday in response to the US Supreme Court order in Trump v. Vance:

"The work continues," the statement read.

More on today's ruling: The Supreme Court decision is a bitter loss for Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public disclosure, after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Vance was overbroad and issued in bad faith.

Vance tweeted his statement earlier today:

10:23 a.m. ET, February 22, 2021

What you need to know about the Supreme Court's ruling on Trump's tax returns

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

The Supreme Court cleared the way for a New York prosecutor to obtain former President Trump's tax returns, dealing a massive loss to Trump who has fiercely fought to shield his financial papers from prosecutors.

The ruling is a bitter loss for Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public disclosure, after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was overbroad and issued in bad faith.

What this means for Trump: The grand jury investigation into alleged hush money payments and other issues will no longer be hampered by Trump's fight to keep the documents secret. The documents will be subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict their public release.The ruling was issued without comment or dissent.

Some background: Last July, the Supreme Court, voting 7-2, rejected the Trump's broad claims of immunity from a state criminal subpoena seeking his tax returns and said that as president he was not entitled to any kind of heightened standard unavailable to ordinary citizens. The justices sent the case back to the lower court so that the President could make more targeted objections regarding the scope of the subpoena.

CNN's Jessica Schneider reports: