Lawyers for President Donald Trump complained this week that plaintiffs for an ongoing lawsuit are just trying to dig up “embarrassing” dirt against him by seeking his tax returns and certain mental health information. They said the requests are “clearly irrelevant” to a complaint over whether POTUS incited violence against protesters at a campaign rally.
“From the moment Plaintiffs filed their Complaint, it has been clear that their primary objective has been to use the court system and the discovery process to inflict maximum political damage on President Trump,” attorneys wrote in a court filing obtained by POLITICO. They also attacked the plaintiffs’ request to learn the names of “medical providers from whom Trump has sought or received any psychological and/or psychiatric and/or mental health treatment or counseling.”
Protesters claim then-candidate Trump incited violence against them at a March 2016 rally in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Get ’em out of here,” he said. Both sides argue over whether the president is culpable for any alleged violence that followed. They want his tax returns in order to suss out any links to hate groups, and to see whether he can pay a judgement.
“We want to know where his money is going and where it’s coming from,” said plaintiff attorney Greg Belzley, according to POLITICO. “What are his connections with the hate groups that regularly attended his rallies? What security did he have? Did they make any arrangements? Does he have the money to pay a jury verdict in this case?”
A known white supremacist was arrested for allegedly shoving one of the protesters, a black woman.
Trump’s critics often attack his reluctance to release his tax returns. Presidents since Jimmy Carter have put out theirs, but the current POTUS bucked the trend, arguing that he can’t show everyone his because of an ongoing IRS audit. No law requires the Commander-in-Chief to release these documents, but the IRS has said it’s a-okay for him to publish his returns, audit or not.
Some critics have also said that the president’s actions show signs of mental illness. For example, Norm Eisen, a White House attorney under Barack Obama, said that one infamous Trump tweet showed “evidence of mental deterioration,” and the Commander-in-Chief therefore needed a psych evaluation.
[Screengrab via White House]