And The Prize For Handing Trump His Ass In Court Goes To DC Judge Amit Mehta!
As expected, DC District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled against Donald Trump in the case of whether Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA LLP must comply with the House Oversight Committee's subpoena of his financial records. What perhaps wasn't quite so expected was just how swiftly Mehta ruled, and just how hard he smacked Trump and his dumbass lawyers down. It was a thing of beauty.
The ruling begins with a quote from James Buchanan, who is considered the worst president in American history, though we imagine once the Trump presidency is over, Buchanan's ghost will be relieved to find it's finally number two. Surprise, it was a quote of Buchanan whining like a common Donald Trump over the House of Representatives doing its job:
I do, therefore, . . . solemnly protest against these proceedings of the House of Representatives, because they are in violation of the rights of the coordinate executive branch of the Government, and subversive of its constitutional independence; because they are calculated to foster a band of interested parasites and informers, ever ready, for their own advantage, to swear before ex parte committees to pretended private conversations between the President and themselves, incapable, from their nature, of being disproved; thus furnishing material for harassing him, degrading him in the eyes of the country . . .
Buchanan was bellyaching about the House investigating him, as he, like Trump, believed they didn't have that power. The US Constitution disagreed then as it does now.
And as does Judge Mehta (emphasis ours throughout):
Courts have grappled for more than a century with the question of the scope of Congress's investigative power. The binding principle that emerges from these judicial decisions is that courts must presume Congress is acting in furtherance of its constitutional responsibility to legislate and must defer to congressional judgments about what Congress needs to carry out that purpose. To be sure, there are limits on Congress's investigative authority. But those limits do not substantially constrain Congress. So long as Congress investigates on a subject matter on which "legislation could be had," Congress acts as contemplated by Article I of the Constitution.
Applying those principles here compels the conclusion that President Trump cannot block the subpoena to Mazars.
"Legislation could be had." As in, if anything about Trump's taxes or financial records could somehow relate to legislation Congress might take up, it's fair game, and it's not for Steven Mnuchin, say, to determine if it's "legitimate." As Elijah Cummings and the Oversight Committee have explained multiple times relating to this subpoena, and Mehta restates in his ruling, the committee is looking at "strengthening ethics and disclosure laws," and also at whether the president is violating the Emoluments Clause and unduly benefiting from the largesse of hostile foreign powers. In other words, Congress is legislating.
These are facially valid legislative purposes, and it is not for the court to question whether the Committee's actions are truly motivated by political considerations. Accordingly, the court will enter judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee.
"Facially valid." That means ON THEIR FACE. And it also means IN YOUR FACE, if you are Donald J. Trump.
Remember when we were making fun of Trump's idiot lawyers, because their argument is literally that Congress isn't allowed to be Congress, because Trump says? Clearly, Mehta is just as amused as we are. (We already knew that, since reporters in the courtroom during oral arguments all said Mehta was various forms of "stunned" and "astounded" listening to Trump's lawyer William Consovoy blather on.)
Later in his ruling, Mehta specifically addresses Trump's lawyers' belief that Congress is not allowed to investigate the president for potential violations of law, by explaining how dumb and stupid it is to believe that:
It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct—past or present—even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry.
Then he cites two times Congress has done just this in the past 50 years. Surprise, it was Watergate and Whitewater! We continue to anxiously anticipate Trump's lawyers' arguments that the seven million investigations into Bill Clinton were illegal. It should be wildly entertaining.
So there you have it! Elijah Cummings wins, America wins, Trump loses, because he is a loser.
Trump of course has already appealed, but there will not be a stay of Mehta's ruling, because though Trump's idiot lawyers begged for one, Mehta writes, "The Court declines to do so," perhaps because he is a person who has gone to school, who knows how FACIALLY FUCKING STUPID this case was to begin with.
Mehta notes that for him to issue a stay, "the moving party "must establish  that he is likely to succeed on the merits,  that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,  that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and  that an injunction is in the public interest." That's a high bar! Mehta seems most amused by the part about the moving party establishing that he's likely to succeed on the merits:
Plaintiffs have cited no case since Kilbourn from 1880 in which the Supreme Court or the D.C. Circuit has interfered with a congressional subpoena—because it either intrudes on the law enforcement prerogatives of the Executive or Judicial branches, seeks personal information unrelated to a legislative purpose, or demands records that lack "pertinency." This case does not merit becoming the first in nearly 140 years.
Sorry, maybe Wonkette has just turned into a full-on nerd who likes reading court rulings, but that shit is hilarious.
Donald Trump reacted to all this in a predictable way, claiming the ruling was wrong because it was from an "Obama-appointed judge."
Trump 100 percent thinks he can just choose to ignore rulings from "Obama-appointed" judges. "We disagree with tha… https://t.co/BNGJYBxAv9— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1558392021.0
He's really going to hate it when "Trump-appointed judges" start smacking his ass around on this one, because they might be "Trump-appointed," but they're still "judges," for God's sake.
Apropos of nothing, we should mention that Trump's lawsuit trying to stop Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with subpoenas from the House Financial Services Committee -- which is basically an identical lawsuit to the Mazars lawsuit, and identically stupid -- is set to go before a judge in the Southern District of New York on Wednesday. Can that judge smack Trump down as hilariously as Amit Mehta just did?
Guess we'll have to wait and see!
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