In Victory for Democracy, Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Congressional Oversight & Transparency for the American People
May 21, 2019
President Trump’s blanket, unconstitutional political strategy to defy Congressional subpoenas and conceal the truth from the American people suffered a major defeat yesterday.
In a victory for the American people and our nation’s democracy, a federal judge upheld a congressional subpoena seeking President Donald Trump’s financial records, arguing that Congress is within its constitutional rights to investigate potential illegal behavior by the President:
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta’s ruling delivers a striking blow to the president’s efforts to resist Democratic investigations, and is certain to give Democrats further legal basis to investigate Trump, his finances, and his presidential campaign.
Mehta’s decision is a sweeping repudiation of Trump’s claim to be largely immune from congressional scrutiny, particularly in matters of potential legal violations. Mehta’s opinion emphasizes that lawmakers have the authority to investigate Trump’s conduct from both before and after he took office.
The ruling represents the first time the federal judiciary has weighed in on the ongoing oversight battle between Trump and House Democrats. Mehta’s ruling is likely to provide a blueprint for other judges who are set to make their own rulings on Trump’s vow to defy all congressional subpoenas.
Mehta noted that Congress had twice investigated alleged illegal activity by presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. “Congress plainly views itself as having sweeping authority to investigate illegal conduct of a president, before and after taking office,” Mehta wrote. “This court is not prepared to roll back the tide of history.”
President Trump on Monday lost an early round of his court fight with Democrats after a federal judge ruled the president’s accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers seek to assert their oversight authority.
In his decision, Mehta flatly rejected arguments from the president’s lawyers that the House Oversight Committee’s demands for the records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, were overly broad and served no legitimate legislative function.
The judicial branch just delivered a sharp jab to the chin of President Donald Trump, in a foreboding omen for his strategy for thwarting investigations that threaten his presidency… He made a sweeping point about Congress’ power to hold a President to account — in an argument that will reverberate throughout Trump’s attempt to fend off an oversight offensive.
What is President Trump hiding? The American people deserve answers and our democracy demands transparency. House Democrats will continue to hold President Trump accountable and get the truth for the American people.