MANHATTAN (CN) – A day after a federal judge told them to “sober up,” President Donald Trump and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance agreed on Thursday to a temporary hangover on subpoena enforcement.
Their deal puts off the demand for Trump’s tax returns until Oct. 7, or two days after a federal judge’s ruling on a bid to block the probe, whichever comes sooner.
On Wednesday, the president and the prosecutor had not appeared ready for such a compromise.
Sensing a strategy in presidential litigation, Assistant District Attorney Carey Dunne argued that granting even an inch to Trump would delay their criminal grand-jury investigation indefinitely.
“The real game plan today, again looking for as much delay as possible, is to seek stays at every stage,” Dunne said, pointing to Trump’s successful efforts to block scrutiny from House Oversight Committee, House Intelligence Committee, and attorneys general from Maryland and Washington.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero signaled that he would not allow Trump to drag out the litigation.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York surprised many in asking to support Trump’s federalism position, essentially removing jurisdiction from their fellow prosecutors in the state government. Vance’s office appeared to be jolted by what an assistant district attorney called an “eleventh-hour” turn.
Though federal prosecutors wanted until Oct. 15 to develop their arguments, Judge Marrero gave them only until Monday to join the case.
Trump’s attorney William Consovoy, who argued for broad criminal immunity for the president, his businesses, and third parties while he is in office, predicted the opening of floodgates by ambitious state prosecutors if this probe continues.
“All 50 states can do this,” Consovoy warned on Wednesday. “That is untenable.”
Marrero splashed cold water on that theory, noting that this has not occurred in more than two centuries of the existence of the republic.
The subpoena seeks eight years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns in connection with a still-active criminal investigation into hush-money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Trump’s accounting firm Mazars will continue to gather responsive documents until the stay is lifted.