Today’s Supreme Court rulings that the President of the United States is not, as Donald Trump hoped against both precedent and decency, an absolute divine-right monarch during his tenure in the Oval Office, is a bit of a mixed bag. To be sure, his claims of absolute immunity from anything were junked not only by the 7-2 majority ruling in favor of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s subpoena of Trump’s accounting firm but also by Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito in dissent. But they mean, at worst, that a few dozen people in the fourth most-Democratic county in America will get to see his tax returns. And given that the high court has allowed Trump to continue litigating even that in the lower courts, it will almost certainly not be before November’s election. And if Congress is to ever get the financial records it desires, it, too, will have to wait until next year at the earliest, by which time they’ll hopefully have a good deal less reason to want them.

The twin rulings are also a mixed bag for Trump’s most loyal moneymen, Deutsche Bank. As it was Congress which subpoenaed the Germans, rather than the Manhattan D.A., they are off the hook, as it were, for the time being from providing evidence that could (but probably wouldn’t) destroy the president but which might also, if made public, destroy it (much more likely). Certainly, there was much relief in the bank’s statement that it “has demonstrated full respect for the U.S. legal process” and “will of course abide by a final decision by the courts,” whensoever that should come and if there is, in fact, still a Deutsche Bank to abide but such a decision in the late 2040s or whenever.

On the other hand, Congress’ subpoenas to Deutsche Bank weren’t the only ones it received vis-à-vis client Donald John Trump, and one of the others is from someone with power over the sort of “state criminal subpoenas” Chief Justice John Roberts says “the president is neither absolutely immune from… nor entitled to a heightened standard of need.” And, of course, there’s nothing stopping a flush-with-victory Vance from shooting a few subpoenas of his own to Frankfurt, other than the fact that he is Cy Vance.

So, no September or October surprise, not that it matters, although as an old friend put it

Oh, speaking of old friends, specifically the old friend whose crack work as fixer led us to the Supreme recapitulation that no man is above the law, why, he’s had an unfortunate run-in with the authorities as well, although it was not as we’d hoped for the spectacularly stupid crime of a man released into house arrest to avoid getting COVID-19 dining out on Park Avenue.

Cohen, Levine said, had been presented with an agreement not to engage with the media through any medium including books -- a restriction that would block the release of his forthcoming tell-all about his time working with Trump which he said was "close to completion" earlier this month.... "We made our objections known to the probation officers and we asked what we can do to work it out," he continued. Levine said he then "received an order and the US Marshals office came with shackles to shackle Michael Cohen…."

Cohen told the Marshals, "I'll sign exactly what you want me to sign so that I don't have to go to jail," but the Marshals said it was out of their hands, Davis said.

While Cohen objected to conditions of his release that would have blocked him from having contact with the media, posting on social media and releasing his book, the former Trump lawyer immediately backed down once the cuffs were applied, Davis said.

Supreme Court Rules Trump Cannot Block Release of Financial Records [NYT]
Michael Cohen taken into custody for violating terms of his early release from prison [CNN]


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