US Attorney’s office will participate in Trump tax lawsuit

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said Monday that it plans to participate in the lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump to block a subpoena by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for eight years of his tax returns.

In a letter sent to the judge in the case, the office’s civil division chief said it would file a submission in the case by Wednesday, the deadline set by the judge last week.

Broader constitutional questions are at the heart of the dispute over the subpoenas, including whether the President can be criminally investigated.

Trump sued the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office two weeks ago after it sent his longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, a grand jury subpoena seeking tax returns and related documents going back to 2011.

The district attorney’s office, led by Cyrus Vance Jr., is investigating the hush money payments made to two women who, during the 2016 campaign, alleged affairs with the President. Trump has denied having affairs with both women.

Prosecutors are looking at whether the Trump Organization violated any New York state laws — including potentially filing false business record — in its effort to reimburse Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, who paid some of the hush money on Trump’s behalf. Cohen is serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty in a federal case concerning the payments.

In the lawsuit, Trump has argued that a criminal investigation of a sitting president is “unconstitutional,” and asked the judge to suspend the subpoena until he is no longer in office.

The US Attorney’s office had filed a brief last week saying it needed time to decide whether to get involved in the matter.

“In view of those constitutional issues and the federal interests that they may implicate, the United States is currently considering whether to participate in connection with the pending motion for a preliminary injunction,” the office wrote in its brief last week.