Dear Colleague on Congress's Duty to Continue Oversight Following Supreme Court Victory for the Constitution and Rule of Law
Dear Democratic Colleague,
As you know, the Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision on Thursday in the case involving President Trump’s challenge to Congress’s right to conduct oversight and issue subpoenas to access the President’s financial records. This is the first time that this issue has been litigated before the Supreme Court; in the past, Presidents and Congress have cooperated on matters of subpoenas. Sadly, because of President Trump’s insistence that he is above the law, court proceedings were necessary. Happily, the Court concluded the President is not above the law.
These rulings are a victory for the Constitution and the rule of law and are not good news for President Trump. The Court made clear that the President is not above the law, as it rejected his argument that the House can never obtain his personal financial records and reaffirmed the Congress’s authority to conduct oversight and issue subpoenas on behalf of the American people. Moreover, in the companion New York case, the Court resoundingly rejected the President’s argument that the Supremacy Clause gives a sitting President absolute immunity from state criminal investigative subpoenas seeking his financial records. See United States v. Burr.
In the Mazars case, the Court rejected the argument by the President and the Justice Department that a Congressional Committee must meet “demanding standards” to obtain Presidential information. It held that this matter should be re-examined by the lower courts and set out standards that Congress’s subpoenas must meet, including related to the specificity and legislative purpose of the subpoenas and burden on the President resulting from the subpoena. The bottom line is that the Court made clear that the President is subject to Congressional subpoenas and laid out a standard that we know we can meet.
The press has made these decisions about the President’s taxes. These cases are separate from the case involving a request by the House Ways and Means Committee to the Treasury Department/IRS for copies of Trump’s tax returns. That case is currently stalled in District Court in D.C., where the judge is awaiting a ruling by the D.C. Circuit regarding a Judiciary Committee subpoena to former White House Counsel Don McGahn. The McGahn case was argued several months ago before the full D.C. Circuit, and we await an imminent decision.
The Congress will continue to press our case in the lower courts, as set out by the Mazars decision. Congress’s constitutional responsibility to uncover the truth continues, particularly related to the President’s Russia and other foreign connections, which is a matter of national security. And we will continue to conduct oversight For The People, upholding the separation of powers that is the genius of our Constitution.
Thank you for your patriotic leadership on behalf of the American people.