37 Republicans File Supreme Court Brief Arguing Trump Can't Block Manhattan DA's Tax Fraud Investigation

President Donald Trump
37 Republicans file Supreme Court brief arguing President Donald Trump can't block Manhattan DA's tax fraud investigation Brendan Smialowski/Getty

A number of former Republican lawmakers recently filed a Supreme Court brief arguing that President Donald Trump cannot stop the Manhattan District Attorney's tax fraud investigation.

The brief, which was filed on Monday, was signed by 37 Republicans, including former members of Congress and the Executive Branch, as well as Trump critics George Conway and John Dean.

According to the brief, the former Republican lawmakers, "are concerned that President Trump's assertions of absolute immunity from process, while in office – and more generally his arguments against accountability in any forum – could impose lasting damage on our constitutional system of checks and balances as well as on the rule of law."

The brief stems from the subpoena issued by the Manhattan District Attorney and the subsequent response from Trump's lawyers. In August, the Manhattan District Attorney issued a grand-jury subpoena to Mazars USA, Trump's accounting firm. The subpoena was seeking the president's tax returns and financial records in regard to an investigation of alleged payments Trump made to two women he allegedly had affairs with.

Following the subpoena issued by the district attorney's office, Trump's lawyers argued that criminally investigating a president while in office was unconstitutional, claiming that Trump was immune to investigation as well as prosecution. His lawyers sued to block the subpoena, but federal judges ruled against Trump, leading to the case being sent to the Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments on March 31.

The brief also argues that Trump and his lawyers are asking the Supreme Court, "to depart radically from that principle by holding that criminal investigations may not touch the president's affairs in any way, even when those investigations require nothing at all from the president."

"This extraordinary assertion is not based on any specific claim of privilege, but rather on a sweeping claim of absolute immunity," the brief adds.

While Trump and his lawyers believe that investigating a president while in office is unconstitutional, according to the brief, the former Republican lawmakers believe that "the Constitution is concerned with the supremacy of federal law, not the supremacy of federal officials."

"The Framers designed a system in which no one is above the law, not even the president. Historically, this court has adhered to that principle. It should do so again and affirm the decision of the Second Circuit," the brief reads.

In addition to the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments for the case, they are also scheduled to hear two other cases against Trump, brought upon by Democrats in the House of Representatives, who are seeking Trump's financial records from Mazars USA, Capital One and Deutsche Bank.