• Trump is the first modern president to refuse to release his tax returns
  • The New York investigation has been expanded to include Trump's business practices
  • Trump is expected to appeal Wednesday's ruling

A federal appeals court panel in New York on Wednesday refused to block enforcement of a subpoena for President Donald Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Trump’s claims the grand jury subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was issued to harass him and was overly broad.

Trump was expected to appeal Wednesday’s ruling – the fifth rejection of Trump’s attempt to keep the documents out of investigators’ hands. Vance agreed last week not to enforce subpoena for 12 days while the case was being appealed.

Vance is investigating whether any criminal laws were broken when then-Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen paid hush money during the 2016 presidential to two women who said they had had affairs with then-candidate Trump. The investigation since has expanded into Trump’s business practices.

“First, the president’s bare assertion that the scope of the grand jury’s investigation is limited only to certain payments made by Michael Cohen in 2016 amounts to nothing more than implausible speculation,” the court wrote.

“Second, without the benefit of this linchpin assumption, all other allegations of overbreadth – based on the types of documents sought, the types of entities covered, and the time period covered by the subpoena, as well as the subpoena’s near identity to a prior Congressional subpoena – fall short of meeting the plausibility standard.

“Similarly, the president’s allegations of bad faith fail to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued out of malice or an intent to harass.”

Vance initially issued his subpoena last year. The U.S. Supreme Court in July issued a landmark decision rejecting Trump’s argument that sitting presidents are immune from criminal investigation. He then filed an objection describing the subpoena as overly broad and issued in bad faith, arguing it should cover only payments made by Cohen.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to bank and tax fraud, and campaign law violations.

Vance subpoenaed eight years of Trump financial documents from his accountants, Mazars USA.

Trump is the first modern president to fail to make his tax returns public, saying the returns are under IRS audit. The New York Times recently reported Trump paid just $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017, and no taxes in 11 of the last 18 years, despite claims of being a multibillionaire.