Poor Donald Trump is having a very bad day. First, one of the main architects of his campaign (and former WH advisor) Steve Bannon was arrested for fraud related to a GoFundMe campaign which raised over $25M to build a wall, but appears to have partially been used to fund personal expenses for numerous people associated with the campaign. Second, a federal judge ruled that New York State prosecutors could have access to Trump's accounting records and taxes, throwing the appeal out -- with prejudice, meaning he can't come back and appeal again.
The ruling comes after the Supreme Court sent the case back down to the lower court just a month ago. Trump's attorneys continued to claim that he had "absolute immunity", which is not a legal term and is completely fabricated. Trump has already appealed and is asking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for emergency help (ie a Hail Mary please save me move). CNN reports that the subpoena could be enforced as early as next week.
In the 103-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero wrote about Trump's claim of "absolute immunity":
“As this court suggested in its earlier ruling in this litigation, that notion, applied as so robustly proclaimed by the president’s advocates, is as unprecedented and far-reaching as it is perilous to the rule of law and other bedrock constitutional principles on which this country was founded and by which it continues to be governed.”
The Manhattan DA, Cy Vance, has been seeing accounting records from Donald Trump and the Trump Organization to investigate whether they broke any state laws in regards to payments made to women Trump paid to hush about his affairs with them. It is quite possible that they may discover many other crimes while reviewing the taxes, though, and this is almost definitely why Trump is fighting so hard to hide them. He does not care about the hush money payments. But, he does care about many other crimes, such as tax laws.
Vance had agreed to wait a full week to enforce the subpoena. Trump's attorney's didn't even wait an hour before filing their appeal. CNN reports that "the appeals court could hear Trump's challenge and will separately have to decide if the subpoena should be put on hold" so this could move very fast. They could also deny an appeal and hold that the Court's ruling stands. Trump would have limited options at that point.
We will update this story as the story unfolds.
UPDATED 8/21/20: Trump has officially lost his request for a stay of the ruling of the lower court. Courthouse News reports that a Federal Judge made a quick ruling on the request for a stay. In his ruling, Judge Marrero states that the Court is concerned about "further delay on the grand jury’s" probe.
Further, Judge Marrero writes that "The court notes that its views remain unchanged with respect to the president’s likelihood of success on the merits... particularly given the concerns ... regarding the effect of further delay on the grand jury’s investigation."
But, this does not end the matter. Trump has asked for the same stay from SCOTUS. Based on July's ruling from SCOTUS, in which they remanded the case (sent back) to the lower court, it is highly likely they will make a quick decision and do the exact same thing. If so, they could dispense the request and simply issue a denial to hear the case. If that happens, it is done and Cy Vance could get access to Trump's accounting documents within a matter of weeks, or even days.
This could move very fast. Trump has few options left to fight this case.