Former President Donald Trump suffered a stunning string of court setbacks this week, a clear indication that his legal woes won’t disappear after launching his 2024 bid for the White House.
Some had previously speculated that Trump timed his campaign announcement in a bid to shield himself from said legal issues, with hopes that prosecutors and investigators would loosen their investigations to avoid being accused of cracking down on Trump for political reasons.
TRUMP SNUBBING TWITTER IN BID TO SAVE TRUTH SOCIAL, BUT INSIDERS THINK HE’LL CAVE
All in a matter of hours, Tuesday delivered Trump losses in his ongoing battle against the House Ways and Means Committee regarding his taxes, a prolonged abuse and defamation lawsuit raised by author E. Jean Carroll, the New York attorney general’s fraud investigation into the Trump Organization, and the Department of Justice’s investigation into Trump’s handling of White House materials after leaving office.
Two of those matters, the Carroll suits and Ways and Means tax probe, date back to 2019 and received a jolt of life Tuesday afternoon. First, the Supreme Court denied Trump’s final request to block the House committee from accessing his tax returns, prompting the former president to lash out on his social media platform, Truth Social.
“Why would anybody be surprised that the Supreme Court has ruled against me, they always do!” Trump wrote in a post. “It is unprecedented to be handing over Tax Returns, & it creates terrible precedent for future Presidents. Has Joe Biden paid taxes on all of the money he made illegally from Hunter & beyond.”
Furthermore, Carroll’s attorneys announced their intent to file a new battery and defamation civil suit against Trump following the implementation of New York’s new adult survivors law.
Meanwhile, Justice Arthur Engoron, who is hearing New York Attorney General Letitia James’s $250 million fraud case against Trump’s business, put an end to nearly three years of delay tactics on Trump’s part.
“You can’t keep making the same arguments after you’ve already lost,” Engoron reportedly told Trump’s legal team and set a trial date for Oct. 2, 2023, just months before Republican voters would begin casting votes in the presidential primary.
Perhaps Trump’s largest setback came in Fulton County, Georgia, where a panel of federal appeals court judges appeared to indicate they would end Trump’s special master review of documents seized from his South Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, by the DOJ earlier this year.
South Florida Judge Aileen Cannon ruled earlier this year that Trump could appoint a special master to determine which documents the DOJ could use in its espionage investigation, but the panel said during a short hearing Tuesday that Cannon, whom Trump appointed in 2020, should not have intervened in the case in the first place.
“We would have to be concerned about the precedent we create that would allow any target of a federal investigation to go into a district court and have it entertain this,” the judges said during the hearing, “and interfere with the executive branch’s ongoing investigation.”
Tuesday’s court losses come just days after the DOJ took a serious step forward in advancing its two probes of the former president.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday that he would appoint Jack Smith, a former U.S. attorney and war crimes prosecutor at The Hague, to serve as special counsel and determine any charges stemming from the DOJ’s Trump espionage investigation and its investigation of his behavior on and in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Garland specifically cited Trump’s recent campaign announcement as one of the core reasons behind his appointment of Smith.
“I have been proven innocent for six years on everything — from fake impeachments to Mueller, who found no collusion, and now I have to do it more?” Trump complained in an interview Friday with Fox News. “It is not acceptable. It is so unfair. It is so political.”
“I have been going through this for six years — for six years I have been going through this, and I am not going to go through it anymore,” he added. “I am not going to partake in it.”