President Donald Trump has made it a key part of his platform since Democrats were elected to the majority in the U.S. House to whine about their efforts to carry out their Constitutionally-mandated oversight and investigation – but they’re not stopping. As part of a case they first brought two years ago alleging that Trump is violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause via continuing to accept money from foreigners via his businesses, lawyers for more than 200 members of Congress have now delivered 37 subpoenas to an array of Trump businesses demanding records of foreign contact. The Department of Justice had asked the D.C. Court of Appeals to stop the case from proceeding just this Monday — but that didn’t exactly stop Democrats from proceeding with their own efforts anyway. (As a side note, apparently the Monday DOJ filing was premature and a follow-up will be coming soon… showing you just how, uh, “organized” the Trump administration is these days.)
Their case has already scored one major victory when D.C. District Judge Emmet Sullivan allowed it to proceed, and Democrats seem convinced that Trump has definitely broken the law in this case. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) shared that Trump has “flagrantly ignored the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, but we do not yet know the extent of his violations.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added on the occasion of this new development:
‘Thanks to the good work of the press, we already know of foreign emoluments that President Trump has and is receiving — we simply don’t yet know the full scope of his lawbreaking. Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration is still seeking to delay, delay, delay, but we are confident that the D.C. Circuit will recognize the well-reasoned logic of the district court, and allow discovery to proceed.’
Ironically, it’s worth noting that the top judge at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is Merrick Garland, who Barack Obama nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked from ever even having an initial confirmation hearing. Garland’s court was also recently left with an appeal of a case the Trump administration themselves brought to try and keep Democrats from accessing Trump’s financial records resting with his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA.
Democrats are not the only ones who have sought to hold the president accountable for seeming to violate the prohibition against the president earning benefits from foreign patrons; the D.C. and Maryland attorneys general have in the past banded together for the same purpose. The Trump team has also faced a legal challenge from a third-party group outside the government, but that case came to a close when a judge ruled they did not have an appropriate enough stake in the issue to bring the case in the first place.
Besides this area, Congressional Democrats have also been pursuing the president’s financial information for other purposes. Just recently, the House Ways and Means Committee brought a lawsuit to try and compel the Treasury Department to follow the law and turn over Trump’s tax returns as requested. The documents are relevant in light of standing allegations of fraud against the president — in other words, he’s credibly accused of wrongdoing well outside the parameters of the Russia scandal.
Featured Image via screenshot