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Manhattan DA subpoenas Trump’s tax returns in probe of hush money payments

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The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office headed by Cy Vance has sent a grand jury subpoena to President Donald Trump’s accounting firm to get his tax returns and corporate tax returns for the past 8 years, a person with direct knowledge of the matter tells NBC News.

The subpoena, first reported by the New York Times, stems from Vance’s criminal investigation into the Trump Organization about payments made to two women who have alleged affairs with the President.

Legal experts with such requests says that the subpoena will likely focus not just on the tax returns but will likely also ask for the underlying documents used to generate the tax returns such as bank statements, expense statements, and other financial documents.

The subpoena was served on Mazars USA, which prepares the President’s tax returns.

A representative for Mazars USA said that as “a a matter of firm policy and professional rules we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients,” but the company “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”

The President’s attorney, Marc Mukasey, told NBC News, “we are evaluating the situation and will respond as appropriate.”

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

In addition to Trump’s company, the D.A.’s office also subpoenaed the publisher of the National Enquirer, which was involved in negotiations with adult film star Stormy Daniels and paid $150,000 to silence another woman who’d claimed she had an affair with Trump, Playboy model Karen McDougal, the Times has reported.

The President has strongly denied the affairs.

The President’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, last August admitted to making the illegal payment to Daniels in order to keep her quiet in the days ahead of the 2016 election.

Cohen is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for a slew of crimes, including breaking campaign finance laws by hiding payments related to the alleged affairs.

Prior to his Congressional testimony earlier this year Cohen released copies of two checks with the President’s signature that he says were used to pay him back for his $130,000 payment to Daniels.

NBC News has previously reported that Cohen has proffered information to prosecutors from the D.A.’s office.

Dareh Gregorian contributed.



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Hillary Clinton attacks 'authoritarian leader' Boris before saying she ‘fears' for Brits

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HILLARY CLINTON blasted Boris Johnson as an “authoritarian leader” in a shocking attack as she claimed she “fears” for the UK.

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‘Of course’ Trump was wrong to ask China to probe Bidens

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Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday that it was wrong for President Donald Trump to call on China to probe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in the Texas Republican’s most direct rebuke of the president yet.

Asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” whether Trump’s comments were “appropriate,” Cruz said “of course not.”

“Elections in the U.S. should be decided by Americans and it’s not the business of foreign countries, any foreign countries, to be interfering in our elections,” he said.

“Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan then asked if it was improper for Trump to ask Ukraine to probe the Bidens, as he did in a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — a call that is now at the center of an impeachment inquiry.

“Listen, foreign countries should stay out of American elections,” Cruz said. “That’s true for Russia. That’s true for Ukraine. That’s true for China. That’s true for all of them. It should be the American people deciding elections. I don’t know what [Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has] been saying. I do know though that we should decide our elections. It should be the American people making those decisions.”

But Cruz added that it would make “sense” for Giuliani, who is at the center of the president’s campaign to have Ukraine investigate the Bidens, testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has already invited Giuliani to do so.

“I’d like to see Rudy testify,” Cruz said. “Yes.”

Cruz’s comments come as Republicans have struggled to align on their responses to Trump’s requests to have Chinese and Ukrainian officials investigate the former vice president and his son. Some Republicans defended Trump’s China remarks by saying the president wasn’t “serious” despite Trump never having indicated he was joking.

Asked Thursday about whether he was serious about calling on China to investigate the Bidens, Trump said, “China has to do whatever they want.”

“If they want to look into something, they can look into it,” the president continued. “If they don’t want to look into it, they don’t have to. Frankly, are far as I’m concerned, if China wants to look into something, I think that’s great. And if they don’t want to, I think that’s great too. That’s up to China.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he “can’t comment” on whether Trump was serious in his ask to have China investigate the Biden family.

“I can’t comment on whether he was serious or not,” Mnuchin said, adding that the topic had not been brought up in trade negotiations between the two countries. “And in the Oval Office, when the president was asked about this in front of the Vice Premier, the president made very clear, they can do what they want. So, again, people who are trying to imply that the president is asking for things or quid pro quos, I think this is ridiculous.”

The president began ramping up his push to have China probe Hunter’s business dealings this month in the face of House Democrats’ rapidly escalating impeachment probe.

“China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump told reporters outside the White House earlier this month.

The president has repeatedly accused the former vice president’s son of using a 2013 trip on Air Force Two with his father to procure $1.5 billion from China for a private equity fund he had started. There has been no evidence of corruption on behalf of either Biden. The Washington Post found Trump’s claims false. And a spokesman for Hunter Biden said he did not acquire an equity interest in the fund until 2017, after his father had left office. Meanwhile, Hunter’s total capitalization from the fund at the time amounted to about $4.2 million, not the $1.5 billion Trump alleged.

On Sunday, Hunter announced through his attorney that he would step down from the Chinese-backed firm by the end of the month. Hunter’s attorney, George Mesires, wrote that the former vice president’s son “never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the president of the United States.”



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Brexit countdown: EU gives Boris 48 HOURS to strike deal – 'Significant work to be done'

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BORIS JOHNSON has been given a tight deadline of only 48 hours to secure an agreement with the EU as the scheduled October 31 withdrawal deadline creeps closer.

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