A federal judge will fast-track a decision on President Trump’s bid to quash a House subpoena for financial records from his accounting firm, saying he will decide the full case, not just whether to temporarily block the subpoena while the case proceeds, after a hearing Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta made his announcement Thursday in a brief notice to both sides after receiving a first round of written arguments in the case. The lawsuit was brought April 22 by Trump and several of his businesses against House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Trump’s accounting firm.
“The sole question before the court — Is the House Oversight Committee’s issuance of a subpoena to Mazars USA LLP for financial records of President Donald Trump and various associated entities a valid exercise of legislative power? — is fully briefed, and the court can discern no benefit from an additional round of legal arguments,” Mehta said.
Cummings’s panel last month subpoenaed Mazars seeking documents to corroborate testimony of the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who said at a congressional hearing that Trump intentionally misreported the value of his assets for personal gain.
Other House panels have requested Trump’s banking records and tax returns, while his company also faces inquiries from New York state regulators and is defending itself against plaintiffs in two lawsuits alleging that his company violates the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments.
In suing the House as well as his banks and accounting firm, Trump’s lawyers argued the president’s past personal dealings are irrelevant to the legislative branch’s fundamental duty of writing bills. They accuse Democrats of “assuming the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals.”
It’s pretty obvious how this decision will go: There have been numerous cases, going back to (at least) Teapot Dome saying that oversight is a valid exercise of legislative power.
I expect this to be appealed, but I cannot see Trump winning this one unless the Supreme Court wants to overturn decades of precedent.