|RICHMOND (July 9, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has helped defeat President Donald Trump’s efforts to impede criminal investigations and hide evidence of potential crimes. Attorney General Herring authored the lead states’ amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in Trump v. Vance making clear that President Trump cannot block a valid grand jury subpoena sent to his accounting firm that seeks financial records as part of an ongoing investigation by the District Attorney of New York. Sixteen fellow attorneys general joined Attorney General Herring’s brief, and the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that President Trump cannot block this valid subpoena sent to a third party.
“Today’s ruling makes clear what we have always known: no one is above the law, including Donald Trump. He does not get to block criminal investigations and shield evidence of potential illegal activity just because he is President,” said Attorney General Herring. “This case had the potential to set an extremely dangerous precedent that the President can unilaterally block legitimate investigations and cover-up evidence with impunity. It was only one example of the frightening, unconstitutional, and undemocratic cycle of wrongdoing and cover-up that this president has engaged in, all too frequently with the support of Attorney General Barr and the inappropriate use of the people’s Department of Justice.”
In his brief, Attorney General Herring argued that President Trump is not above the law and “[the Supreme Court] has repeatedly held that the President is not immune from judicial process.” Adding that the Supreme Court has “already rejected nearly all of the arguments the President and the DOJ urge in favor of immunity.”
Attorney General Herring and his colleagues also highlighted that the grand jury subpoena that was at issue in the lawsuit “seeks information about events predating the President’s time in office, when he was a private citizen and a resident of New York” and “does not threaten any interfere with the President’s official acts…[and] it does not even involve them.”
Additionally, the subpoena was directed to a corporation that is associated with the President and does not actually “purport to compel the President to do anything at all.”
Attorney General Herring was joined in the amicus brief by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.