President Donald Trump continues to face repeated significant setbacks in the court system although for some reason, he just keeps on hammering away with his attempts to evade scrutiny anyway. This past week, he faced not one but two rulings against his team’s challenges to Congressional subpoenas of his financial records, although they’ve already appealed both rulings, further dragging the cases out. Still, D.C. Judge Amit Mehta ruled in favor of the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena of Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA, and New York Judge Edgardo Ramos has now also ruled in favor of the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committee’s joint subpoenas targeting Deutsche Bank, Capital One, and other interests as part of an investigation into fraud and more specifically, money laundering including as it possibly involves the president.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite their review of the Mazars USA case, although it will still be all the way in mid-July when they hear oral arguments. Still, the tide is clearly moving in House Democrats’ favor.
The House Intelligence Committee’s Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters:
‘Recent reports that suspicious activity involving accounts linked to the president or his son-in-law went unreported to the Treasury Department only illustrate why it’s so important for us to do our work without delay or interference by the President or family members. I’m very pleased with the court decision, upholding the rule of law and Congress’s ability to do its constitutional duty.’
As an ironic side note, it’s worth noting that the D.C. Appeals Court’s top judge is none other than Merrick Garland, who President Barack Obama nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court but Senate Republicans blocked on the basis of a non-existent standard against presidents on their way out naming judges. While Garland will surely be a law-adhering arbiter in any role he has in the case, he’s decidedly not one of the highly political appointments Trump has himself made during his time in office, first appointed to the court on which he now serves by President Bill Clinton.
The two lower court judges who have already ruled against Trump’s challenges to Congressional subpoenas are both Obama appointees, and the distinction is relevant not because of the made-up precedent Trump has spouted of previous administration’s judges breaking with the law but because it means that they’re definitely not one of the spectacularly unqualified individuals Trump has nominated. Trump’s notion that there are “Obama judges” has been rebuked by the sitting justice of the U.S. Supreme Court himself, John Roberts.
The two cases in which his challenges to Congressional subpoenas have already been shot down are not the only ones in which House Democrats are after Trump financial records.
The House Ways and Means Committee has also subpoenaed Trump’s tax returns, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to comply with that subpoena, basing his refusal on a supposed absence of a legitimate legislative purpose. The outcome of these other two cases indicates, however, just how shaky the Trump team’s arguments to that effect really are.
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