November 30, 2022

Analysis: Donald Trump’s rough day in court ends with a double defeat

6 min read


Donald Trump Tuesday was a bad day in court – or, more accurately, in the courts.

Absorbed by the former president. A shocking defeat in the Supreme Court On his long-running campaign to hide his tax returns, which are now set to go before a Democratic-controlled House committee. Republican-appointed appeals court judges, meanwhile, looked cold at his latest bid Mar-a-Lago to slow down classified documents case. A New York judge appointed Trial date of October 2023 For the state’s $250 million case alleging fraud against Trump, his three children and his organization, which will fall just before the Republican presidential primary season. And as the hangover hits 2020 over his false claims of fraud, Trump’s allies Sen. Lindsey Graham testified. to a Georgia grand jury investigating the former president’s alleged election-rigging bid.

Given Trump’s massive legal exposure, and his habit of using the courts’ deliberate speed to delay accountability, it’s not unusual for him to have a tough time on the same day in concurrent cases.

But Tuesday’s developments marked the first time that the legal chaos and danger that surrounds him has come into sharp focus since he announced his third bid for the Republican presidential nomination last week. It’s the first test of whether the swirling courtroom threat he faces on multiple fronts will undermine his ability to mount a credible campaign and deter GOP core voters from considering an alternative candidate. can do

Several developments on Tuesday — including the dossier and the fact that Trump’s tax returns will soon be in Democratic hands, weeks before Republicans take control of the House — suggest that Trump’s two A permanent legal strategy may begin to emerge. The first is his claim that, as a former president, he deserves different treatment under the law than other American citizens. The second is that his delay, delay, delay approach is reaching the limits of its effectiveness. Still, the former president has long managed to keep scandals at bay that might put other politicians at arm’s length. And he makes sure to take advantage of new twists in the cases to bolster the persecution narrative central to his new campaign for the White House.

But outgoing Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinsonwho is also considering a 2024 Republican presidential primary campaign, said on CNN Tuesday that fresh evidence of turmoil surrounding Trump could be a turnoff for GOP voters.

“It’s shocking to the public to see this kind of chaos around a candidate for president,” Hutchinson told CNN’s Briana Keller. “To me, it’s very difficult and reflects all the challenges that come with a Trump candidacy.”

Trump’s refusal to follow precedent by publicly releasing his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign was one of the first signs of his determination to break the rules. So the Supreme Court’s decision to block the Internal Revenue Service from releasing its tax documents to the House Ways and Means Committee represents a significant personal and political defeat.

The committee’s Democratic leadership says it wants the returns to decide whether there is a case for changing the tax rules for current presidents. Concealed conflicts of interest or the possibility of missing or reducing payments due to presidents or on such returns may be complicated by the chief executive’s authority to set tax policy. A lower court had previously found that there was a legitimate legislative purpose to look at the committee’s return. But with just weeks left before Republicans take over the House, it’s unclear how long it will take for Democrats to scrutinize the returns or potentially make changes to the law.

It’s also not certain that the public will get to see the return that Trump has long sought to preserve. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Texas who sits on the committee, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Tuesday that the documents are subject to confidentiality protections. But he also said the panel has the authority to release the documents publicly and that “the pressure of time here creates an additional reason to consider doing so.”

On the substance of the case, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the Supreme Court upheld an important principle. “Since the Magna Carta, the principle of oversight has been upheld, and today is no different. It rises above politics, and the committee will now carry out the oversight that we have been striving for for the past three and a half years.

But the top Republican on the committee, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, warned that by stepping aside, the court would set a precedent that would mean no citizen is immune from the majority political party.

“By effectively giving the majority party in either house of Congress nearly unlimited power to target and make public the tax returns of political enemies — political figures, private citizens, or the Supreme Court justices themselves — they are creating a dangerous new “Opening a political battlefield where no citizen is safe,” Brady said in a statement.

An interesting wrinkle will be whether Trump’s defeat in the tax return battle will affect how future Republican presidential candidates deal with their financial records. By releasing him, they could not only re-establish a modern tradition of transparency for presidents. He could potentially outrun Trump.

Trump’s second big disappointment came in the case of the Mar-a-Lago documents, in which major protections the former president received from a lower court judge in Florida now appear to be in jeopardy. The DOJ is investigating the former president for possible obstruction of justice, criminal handling of government records and violations of the Espionage Act, which prohibits the unauthorized collection of national defense information.

A three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals cast doubt on Trump’s arguments that he had a third party, acting as a special master, to sift through nearly 22,000 pages of material taken from his Florida resort. Known to, why is entitled to. A key question here is whether Trump, as a former president, is entitled to the kind of judicial intervention that could slow down countless routine legal cases involving other Americans if it were widely adopted.

In a comment widely noted by legal analysts, the appeals court’s chief judge, William Pryor, cast doubt on Trump’s arguments.

“We have to be concerned about the precedent that we would create that any target of a federal criminal investigation would go to a district court and that the district court would consider that kind of request, the exercise of equitable jurisdiction.” would be allowed (a court to intervene) and interfere with an ongoing investigation by the executive branch,” Pryor told Trump’s lawyer, James Trusty.

“Other than the fact that it involves a former president, everything else about it is separate,” Pryor told trustees during arguments.

Another judge, Bert Grant, reprimanded the trustee for calling the FBI’s search of Trump’s property a “raid,” as the former president has repeatedly done. “Do you think a raid is the right term for executing a warrant?” Grant asked. The Trustee apologized for using the “loaded term”.

Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel at the Department of Defense, told CNN’s Burnett that the court could decide to remove Judge Ellen Cannon, who appointed the special master, in a blow to the former president.

“They would basically be saying, you should never have exercised jurisdiction in the first place, Judge Cannon, you didn’t have it,” Goodman said.

Any such move could significantly speed up the filing after Attorney General Merrick Garland last week appointed a special counsel to oversee it.

It may also offer clarity to the public, who must now examine another unprecedented Trump political landscape. Multiple legal challenges by the former president have slowed both cases, but Tuesday offered signs that each could be moving closer to a resolution.

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