February 25, 2021

Donald Trump's taxes were officially handed over to the Manhattan D.A.'s office on Monday, just hours after the Supreme Court refused to block their release. CNN is reporting that the documents were "millions of pages" in length and "contain Trump's tax returns spanning from January 2011 to August 2019, as well as financial statements, engagement agreements, documents relating to the preparation and review of tax returns, and work papers and communications related to the tax returns."

Whoo doggie.

No one get too excited, though, because these documents won't be released to the public anytime soon. First, they will be fully examined by the D.A.'s office and a team of forensic accountants to determine how many crimes were actually committed. The things they will be looking for include "tax fraud, insurance fraud and other schemes to defraud, including potentially providing false information to financial institutions or banks about the value of certain buildings and assets." Many of these things were alluded to by Michael Cohen during his testimony before Congress.

Tom Winter joined Hallie Jackson on MSNBC to discuss this as the news broke:

HALLIE JACKSON: The Manhattan District Attorney is now in possession of former President Donald Trump's tax returns and some other financial documents as well. Let me bring in Tom Winter, who is joining us on the phone. Not a total shock. Because we knew after the breaking news on this show Monday with that Supreme Court decision that this was now a question of when, not if. So what more are you learning?

TOM WINTER: That's perfectly put. It was not a question of when, but if. It's quick in this case. So basically, shortly after the Supreme Court decision or lack of decision in that they were not going to stop the grand jury here in New York City from getting these tax returns but perhaps much more importantly, the underlying tax documents. The subpoena was able to be enforced. So those records are now in the hands of Manhattan District Attorney Sy Vance. I think going forward here, what's important for people to know is why Vance's office, they have hired former federal prosecutors familiar with these cases, hiring a forensic accounting firm, while they will move quickly, these are very complex cases, they're very difficult to organize, they're very difficult to construct. And then you've got to find out what, if anything, is illegal and figure out how you might want to prosecute that. They are not simple one-off cases. We're talking about the volume of records that exist in this case. When we are talking about the length of time, ten years examined, but perhaps further back. When we look at all those things, it's a difficult case to try to arrange and organize, so in speaking to former prosecutors, they will have to establish a timeline. What did the president, the Trump organization, and those working for him present to banks at the same time they were presenting information to New York? Is something provably false? Is our own colleague and former US Attorney Chuck Rosenberg says, you can't just hold up these tax documents and say, okay, they presented this one thing to a bank and presented this thing in the tax returns, there are two different numbers here so one of them must be false? You can convict whoever they happen to charge. That's not how this works. So they need to delve into the numbers, understand it, and I think it's going to be some time here, Halle, before we hear if there are charging decision and, of course, we won't get to see these documents until this case goes to trial, if it ever does.

JACKSON: Right. Real quick timeline question, is Sy Vance up against a clock here or anything?

WINTER: Well, that's an interesting question. I think over the next couple days or weeks or perhaps even longer than that, we'll hear how they are able to deal with the statute of limitations concerns. I think they have some thoughts on that, I'll leave it there for now. But I think there are some, there will be some interesting developments in due time.

I guarantee there was a whole lot of screaming and throwing things down in Mar-a-Lago today. Expect a sharply worded tweetstorm...wait. No, no tweets. Maybe The Former Guy will call into one of his favorite shows on FOX tonight?


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