The big headline this morning is “President Trump must turn over his tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, federal judge rules.”
According to the New York Daily News:
“The court is not persuaded that the burdens and interferences the President describes in this case would substantially impair the President’s ability to perform his constitutional duties.,” Judge Victor Marrero wrote in his Monday morning decision.
Anti-Trump zealots, no doubt, are pleased with this ruling. The zealots, however, should look beyond their antipathy toward the sitting president. He will not always be sitting.
If this order is upheld, it will set a precedent that lasts beyond Trump’s term. If a local district attorney in New York City can subpoena a president’s documents, so can a local district attorney in Natchez, Mississippi. While Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance may well be an evenhanded sophisticated barrister above partisan politics, there are hundreds of locally elected district attorneys throughout the country. Perhaps one or two of them might use such precedent to harass a future sitting president.
The anti-Trump zealots should be aware of that.
District attorneys are elected. Therefore, they are politicians. A high percentage of local politicians, I suggest, aspire to higher office. Publicity and notoriety can be helpful in an election. A small town, rural district attorney might make quite a name for himself going after a president for some alleged crime or conspiracy. One might imagine a Republican district attorney in a strong Republican district, say, perhaps, along the Texas/Mexico border bringing charges against a Democratic administration for running guns to Mexican cartels.
I realize that is a completely fanciful and far-fetched scenario, but it makes the point: Pandora regretted opening that box.