President Donald Trump and his lawyers had a bad day in court on Tuesday as a federal judge signaled that his lawsuit to block House Democrats’ subpoena has no merit.
House Democrats recently subpoenaed Mazars USA, an accounting firm that holds years worth of Trump’s financial records.
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The records will help Congress determine if Trump has broken the law and whether or not he has financial liabilities that could be used against him by a foreign power.
Trump immediately filed a lawsuit in the hope that the courts will shield him from congressional oversight.
During the first court hearing this week, Trump’s attorney William Consovoy argued that Congress is engaging in law enforcement.
“This is an effort to engage in law enforcement, not to legislate,” Consovoy whined.
House general counsel Doug Letter retorted that “Congress is not trying to send President Trump to jail, but we can still look into whether someone is violating the law.”
“That is law enforcement,” Consovoy claimed. “Are you complying with federal law?”
The problem Trump and his lawyers face is that the courts have not found the Congress overstepped its subpoena power since 1880, which Judge Amit Mehta of the US District Court for the District of Columbia pointed out.
“Am I right there isn’t a single Supreme Court case or appellate case since 1880 that has found a congressional subpoena overstepped its bounds?” Mehta asked. “I agree there are outer limits, but it’s not clear to me what they are.”
Letter would note the while it would be inappropriate to subpoena Trump’s childhood diary or a blood sample, his financial records are fair game because they are relevant to legitimate congressional investigations and have been cited as potential evidence of criminal activity, especially by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.
“Shouldn’t I be presuming in this case that what Congress is doing is constitutional?” Mehta asked.
And then Trump’s attorney made a seriously absurd argument that both the Watergate and the Whitewater investigations were invalid because Congress should not be able to investigate executive branch corruption.
According to USA Today:
At one point, Mehta asked whether Congress could investigate if the president was engaged in corrupt behavior in office.
“I don’t think that’s the proper subject of investigation as to the president,” Consovoy said, although executive agencies could be investigated.
Mehta sounded incredulous, asking whether Congress could have investigated Watergate, which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and Whitewater, which led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Consovoy initially said he’d have to look at the basis for those investigations.
“They were inquiring as to violations of criminal law,” Mehta said. “It’s pretty straightforward – among other things.”
Consovoy said the question is whether the legislation the committee cited was a valid reason for the subpoena.
“That is still law enforcement,” Consovoy said.
Of course, the Constitution gives Congress the power to act as a check and provide oversight. Therefore, Trump is literally asking the courts to invalidate the Constitution itself.
Mehta intends to issue a ruling in writing by the beginning of next week, which is not what Trump and his legal team want to hear because it’s likely they are going to lose big.
And rightfully so. House Republicans used the subpoena power to look at financial records during their own investigations. The same arguments against those subpoenas were made and rejected by the courts. Now Democrats are using the Republican playbook against Trump, and any judge that blocks these subpoenas instead of laughing challenges out of court is flouting the Constitution and has no business sitting on the bench.
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