May 26, 2019


Why Trump's Stonewalling Legal Strategy Will Keep Failing: If he's trying to run out the clock on the subpoenas, the weakness of his strategy might actually be speeding things up (RENATO MARIOTTI May 26, 2019, Politico)

On Monday, federal Judge Amit Mehta issued a sweeping decision rejecting Trump's personal challenge to a House Oversight Committee subpoena of his financial records from an accounting firm he has used. The main argument Trump advanced was that there was no legislative purpose for the subpoena.

Mehta made quick work of that argument, noting that courts have long held that they must presume Congress is acting to legislate. But Trump's argument went further, claiming that Congress is engaging in "law enforcement" and that corrupt behavior by the president is not a "proper subject of investigation." Mehta cited Watergate as an obvious rebuttal.

Trump's argument is doomed to fail in the courts because the Constitution gives the House the "full power of impeachment" and it could not exercise that authority without investigating presidential wrongdoing. Mehta found that it is "simply not fathomable" that "a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a president for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct--past or present--even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry."

Wednesday's ruling by Judge Edgardo Ramos made equally quick work of Trump's argument that subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for his records lacked a "legitimate legislative purpose." He found that argument "unpersuasive," finding that it was "not the role of the judicial branch to question [Congress'] motives." He denied every one of Trump's requests.

What is remarkable about these sweeping rulings is not the results, which were expected, but the speed with which they were issued. Mehta issued his 41-page ruling just seven days after hearing arguments.

If Trump's team is not alarmed by the speed and sweeping nature--not to mention the almost dismissive tone--of the two judgments against the president, it should be. Trump's strategy on a variety of fronts has been to take extreme positions denying congressional authority to investigate the president. On Monday, for example, the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel concluded that the president's senior advisers are immune from subpoenas to testify about their official duties. Buried on Page 9 of the memo was an admission that the only court to consider this issue had ruled to the contrary. Hiding an unfavorable precedent in this manner might work on a first-year law student, but it won't fool a federal judge.

...and easily fool Trumpbots.

Posted by at May 26, 2019 7:48 PM