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impeachmentDoes a District Attorney (DA) have the power to launch a criminal inquiry into the unofficial actions of the President? For the investigative methods at issue in Trump v. Vance the Second Circuit said “yes.” The decision focused on whether a New York state grand jury subpoena could obtain the President’s tax returns from Mazars LLC, an independent accounting and tax service. But stepping away from the case’s facts, the Circuit’s ruling potentially stands for the proposition that a state grand jury subpoena can force a third party to turn over the president’s personal records.

On Friday, the Supreme Court granted Trump’s request to hear the case, but the Second Circuit’s approach still merits some consideration. There are potential downsides to giving any DA with jurisdiction and probable cause the power to indirectly investigate the president for malfeasance. But if a DA is acting in good faith, there are a number of compelling reasons why s/he should be able to indirectly investigate a president’s legally dubious actions.

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