May 15, 2019


Trump untouchable? His lawyers argue Congress can't probe for corruption (William Goldschlag and Dan Janison, May 14, 2019, Newsday)

Donald Trump's lawyers argued in federal court Tuesday that Congress has no power to investigate potential corruption by a president. The judge reacted with astonishment, according to The Washington Post.

The hearing was on Trump's suit to stop his former accounting firm from turning over years of his financial records that have been subpoenaed by the House oversight committee. It's the first of what are expected to be many courtroom battles over Trump's effort to stonewall probes by the Democratic-led House.

"Say a president was involved in some corrupt enterprise, you mean to tell me because he is the president of the United States, Congress would not have power to investigate?" Judge Amit P. Mehta asked Trump's legal team. He continued: What if "we're talking about a presidential violation of a constitutional prohibition that only Congress has authority to approve," such as the acceptance for emoluments or gifts from a foreign government?

Trump's attorney William Consovoy said that's a job for "law enforcement," not Congress. 

Mehta asked whether under that reasoning, Congress was within its rights to have investigated cases such as Watergate, which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation, and the Whitewater case involving President Bill Clinton. Consovoy avoided a direct answer, saying he would have to look at them more closely.

Posted by at May 15, 2019 4:03 AM