An attorney for President Trump told a federal appeals court on Wednesday that Trump could “shoot someone” on Fifth avenue without repercussion because a “local authority” would not have the power to do anything.
Trump’s personal attorney William Consovoy made the remark during oral arguments in a case involving a Manhattan District Attorney subpoena seeking Trump’s tax returns and financial records from his accounting firm.
Trump’s attorneys have argued that a president has blanket immunity from criminal prosecution and immunity from investigation while in office.
Attorneys and the three-judge panel for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals repeatedly referred to Trump’s assertion that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone” without losing supporters.
Judge Denny Chin asked Consovoy how that scenario would work under the president’s claims of executive immunity from prosecution and investigation.
“What’s your view on the ‘Fifth Avenue’ example?” Chin asked. “Local authorities couldn’t investigate, couldn’t do anything about it?”
“Nothing could be done, that’s your position?” he added.
“That is correct,” Consovoy responded.
Here is Trump's lawyer, William Consovoy, telling Judge Denny Chin that if Trump were to shoot someone on fifth avenue, he could not be criminally investigated while in office.
Very normal argument. pic.twitter.com/xlDBwmCUnR
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) October 23, 2019
The Hill reports:
The case stems from a subpoena that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance issued to the accounting firm Mazars seeking the same financial records that are at the heart of separate court battles involving two Democratic-controlled House committees.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office accused Trump of “making up” claims about his tax returns and other financial records that do not exist in the law. Carey Dunne, a lawyer with the office, pushed back aggressively against arguments that Trump’s records were protected under the Constitution.
“There is no privilege for tax returns, whether it’s the president or anybody else in the country,” Dunne told the judges. “Yes, he may view them as embarrassing or sensitive. But yes, tax returns do in fact get subpoenaed all the time in financial investigations.”
“They’re making this up, Your Honor, that’s all I can say,” Dunne added.
The three-judge panel appeared skeptical of the president’s broad claims that he has a blanket immunity from criminal prosecution and even investigation while in office.
Robert Katzmann, the chief judge for the 2nd Circuit, acknowledged that the fight will likely move to the nation’s highest court.
“This case seems bound for the Supreme Court,” Katzmann said.
“I think both sides see that as an inevitability, Your Honor,” Dunne responded.