Topline: The battle for President Trump’s tax returns escalated Monday with a federal court ruling that the records must be turned over to a New York grand jury, a decision that will likely be appealed by the president’s lawyers to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Crucial quote: “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,” read the judges’ decision.
Surprising fact: According to the New York Times, the immunity argument has never been tested in court. Although federal prosecutors can’t charge a sitting president with a crime due to a Justice Department decision granting temporary immunity, presidents can still be subjected to federal criminal investigations.
Key background: Vance is seeking eight years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns as part of a grand jury investigation into hush-money payments. Prosecutors argued that presidential immunity for tax returns doesn’t exist and have assured the courts that the records, if obtained, would be kept confidential. A U.S. district judge rejected Trump’s argument that a sitting president is immune from all investigation and prosecution in an October 7 ruling, calling the effort to prohibit investigations of the president “repugnant.” Trump’s lawyers appealed the decision, leading to the October 23 hearing.
Tangent: When Trump speculated about shooting someone in 2016 during an Iowa campaign stop, NPR reported that his base mostly enjoyed the statement, with few of his supporters criticizing it.