China News Service, February 25. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Chinese website, this week, the criminal investigation into the financial affairs of former US President Trump and his family business has progressed.

The US Supreme Court on the 22nd ordered Trump to hand over his tax returns and other financial records to the New York prosecutor.

Why is it important to investigate Trump's financial affairs?

How big is this blow to Trump?

Will it affect his comeback in politics?

Data map: Trump.

What to investigate?

  Trump has been seeking for months to avoid allowing prosecutors to view his financial records.

These records are considered the key to a criminal investigation.

Former U.S. federal and New York State Attorney Daniel R. Alonso said it may be "a very important piece of the puzzle."

  This is a criminal investigation conducted by the New York State Attorney.

The Democrat prosecutor Cyrus Vance of Manhattan is the lead prosecutor of the investigation.

He and his team are currently only studying the possibility of criminal offenses.

  As part of the investigation, Vance is examining the finances and taxes of Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization.

  This is one of two known criminal investigations against Trump.

The other is about Trump's alleged intention to overturn the November 2020 U.S. presidential election in Georgia.

  As a Republican, Trump has always denied wrongdoing and said the investigation was politically motivated.

How did things get to this point?

  The investigation began in 2018, when Trump was still the President of the United States.

At the beginning, it was about a hush fee during the 2016 presidential election, and the direction of the investigation was to investigate whether the Trump Organization was involved.

  Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was imprisoned in 2018 for his involvement in this conspiracy.

  At the same time, Vance has been evaluating whether the Trump Organization violated any relevant New York State laws in this hush fee incident.

  Currently, Vance's investigation has been expanded to include other possible criminal acts.

The New York Times quoted anonymous sources as saying that Vance was "investigating whether Trump and his company and their employees committed insurance, tax, and banking fraud or other crimes."

  Vance needs these records as a basis to establish whether any criminal acts have occurred.

He has been trying to obtain Trump's personal and corporate tax returns for eight years.

  In July 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s tax records can be inspected by the prosecutor’s office.

However, Trump's lawyers opposed the ruling, saying that the court document was "too excessive" and malicious.

  The court rejected the lawyer's challenge on the 22nd.

This court order means that Vance has the right to obtain these tax records, so that he and his team can review them carefully.

  "This is quite important," Alonso said of the order. "I mean, it is important, and there will be many documents. These documents may be in the millions."

  On the other hand, Trump criticized the investigation as a "political persecution."

What can prosecutors learn from tax records?

  These tax records will give prosecutors a more comprehensive understanding of Trump's financial affairs.

  For example, the prosecutor may be able to figure out the direction of the investigation, seek to interview witnesses, and determine whether there is any violation of state law.

  In addition to Trump's tax return, Alonso said that the analysis of accountants and the communication between them and customers may be included in some records.

  "Judging from the accusations from the outside world, all these things will be important," he said.

  We know from the court order that Vance mentioned that if evidence can be found to support it, tax fraud will be a potential crime.

Many wealthy Americans use some legal loopholes to reduce the taxes and fees they have to pay by law.

  However, these records may be crucial to determine whether the accounting methods Trump and his company may use are legal.

Investigators will need time to check.

Therefore, the investigation is likely to continue until after Vance's term as elected prosecutor ends at the end of this year.

How serious is this for Trump?

  "This is not something that can be taken lightly," Alonso said. "It is clear that this is a substantive investigation."

  It is not clear whether prosecutors will prosecute Trump himself or his company or business partners.

The investigation may ultimately not constitute any prosecution.

  However, if the prosecutor finds evidence of misconduct, there is a possibility of criminal proceedings.

In New York, certain types of tax fraud can be prosecuted as serious criminal offences, and the penalty can be long imprisonment.

  If this is the case, in the case of prosecution, Trump may be summoned to New York for criminal trial.

This result-although it is only theoretically possible at present-will seriously affect Trump's chances of a "resurrection" in politics.

  However, at the moment, Trump's tax records merely give Vance's office an opportunity to expand the scope of the investigation.