History mandates presidential candidates release tax returns, but not how many

Fight over tax returns takes a turn Trump probably won’t like

The Rachel Maddow Show, 9/16/19, 9:14 PM ET

8 years of Trump's tax returns sought by Manhattan D.A.

Rachel Maddow reports on a subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance seeking 8 months of Donald Trump’s tax returns as part of the investigation into hush-money payments made in advance of the 2016 election.
The fight over Donald Trump’s hidden tax returns is a conflict on many fronts, but as NBC News reported yesterday afternoon, there’s a new subpoena for the presidential materials that takes the effort in a new direction.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office headed by Cy Vance has sent a grand jury subpoena to President Donald Trump’s accounting firm to get his tax returns and corporate tax returns for the past eight years, a person with direct knowledge of the matter tells NBC News. […]

Legal experts with such requests say that the subpoena will likely focus not just on the tax returns but will likely also ask for the underlying documents used to generate the tax returns such as bank statements, expense statements, and other financial documents.

Because the current president is at the center of a variety of jarring scandals, it’s worth emphasizing that this subpoena has nothing to do with the Russia affair. Rather, Trump has also been caught up in a hush-money controversy involving pre-election payments to his alleged former mistresses, which helped put his personal attorney in prison, and which is part of an ongoing investigation launched by a New York district attorney’s office into the Trump Organization.

Prosecutors are exploring whether the president’s business falsified records to obscure the purpose of Trump’s payment to Stormy Daniels.

As Matt Stieb noted, “Unlike previous subpoenas, this one is in the context of a criminal investigation with a sitting grand jury, making it more difficult for the president’s lawyers to dodge this filing with a lawsuit.”

What’s more, as Rachel noted on the show last night, the new subpoena comes on the heels of Michael Cohen’s reportedly entering into an agreement with New York City prosecutors in which he’s providing information about the president’s business operation.

If you’re anything like me, you might be thinking at this point, “Geez, how many fights over Trump’s tax returns are there?” Circling back to our earlier coverage, it’s not a short list:

There’s the fight between Trump and state officials in New York.

There’s the fight between Trump and the House Ways & Means Committee.

There’s the fight between Trump and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

There’s the fight over what Mazars, the president’s accounting firm, must disclose to investigators.

There’s the fight over what Deutsche Bank and Capital One, banks with which the president has done extensive business, must disclose to investigators.

There’s the fight between Trump and the state of California.

And now there’s a fight between Trump and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

I’m starting to get the impression that there’s something in the tax returns Trump doesn’t want people to see.