Appeals court just delivered a body blow to Donald Trump over his tax returns

If pleasing Vladimir Putin at all costs is Donald Trump’s number one priority, then keeping his tax returns secret is his number two priority. We’ve seen Trump go to extreme, and in some instances illegal, lengths to try to prevent investigators from obtaining his financial records.

Earlier this week a federal judge ruled that accounting firm Mazars must turn eight years of Donald Trump’s tax returns over to the House impeachment inquiry. Trump filed for an emergency stay with the U.S. Appeals Court, which was granted. But just now, the appeals court ruled that the tax returns must indeed be turned over.

Trump can still try to take his case to the Supreme Court, but given the clear precedent established by the two rulings this week, it’s unlikely the court will even take up the case. Even if it does, the ruling is not likely to go in Trump’s favor. Neil Gorsuch has shown no loyalty to Trump, and Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t get to vote twice.

What’s crucial here is that the courts aren’t ordering Donald Trump himself, or the Trump-controlled Treasury Department, to turn over the records. They’re ordering an independent accounting firm named Mazars to do so, and there is no reason to believe that the people running Mazars will go to jail just to protect Trump’s tax returns.

The bottom line: if Donald Trump doesn’t appeal this to the Supreme Court, or if the Supreme Court rules against him or refuses to hear the case, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will have Trump’s tax returns immediately thereafter. The courts should also soon rule that Mazars must give Trump’s tax returns to the New York grand jury that’s targeting Trump for criminal indictment on state charges.

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