Appearing on CNN to discuss a ruling that will allow Congress to have access to former President Donald Trump's taxes, Bloomberg editor Tim O'Brien said that the issue may be tied up in the courts yet again, and that Trump should be more concerned about the criminal investigation being conducted against him by Manhattan's district attorney.
Last week the Justice Department paved the way for Congressional investigators to access the former president's tax returns before a federal judge interceded and gave Trump time to contest the ruling.
Speaking with CNN host Jim Sciutto, O'Brien — a Trump biographer who has seen previous tax documents belonging to the ex-president before he ran for office — said to expect another long period of legal wrangling.
"I'm assuming they are looking at this and still challenge it on the grounds that the DOJ, Bill Barr's DOJ blocked the release which was, that congress was just engaging in a fishing expedition and it wasn't pursuant to Congress's oversight authority or legislation and therefore it should be stopped," O'Brien predicted. "I imagine they'll try to challenge that in court but they're going to have an uphill battle with that."
"So if it comes to Congress, if the tax returns come to Congress, are they now effectively public? Will you and I and people here watching here be able to see them?" host Sciutto asked.
"I suspect we will at some point," the journalist replied. "I think Congress is going to have to be judicious and I think circumspect about how they post these. There is a lot of, I think, issues around the separation of powers and checks and balances that rides as much on trust as it does on the rule of law."
"So the president has multiple legal tracks, perilous ones underway right now," Sciutto prompted. "I mean you have an investigation, one in the state of Georgia into his efforts to overturn the election. You have the Manhattan DA's continued case and indictment, in fact of the Trump Organization. Now you have this, at least exposing — we don't know if there is criminal behavior — but exposing what the president has tried to conceal for some time. What is the political effect of that for a person who remains the choice of most, at least, Republicans for the [presidential] nominee in 2024?"
"I think the Manhattan DA's investigation is still the most perilous for him; that is a criminal investigation that is still a possibility that there is an orange jumpsuit waiting for Donald Trump at the end of that process," O'Brien explained. "I don't anticipate getting there, there is a lot of evidence that needs to come into the public record before that occurs."
"I don't know that any of his core supporters would care about any of this," the journalist conceded. "I think the real issue is what do traditional conservative Republicans and moderate voters think about it in a general election and that is really the meat of the issue."
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