OYEZ A Supreme Court LIVEBLOG Of WELL ACTUALLY Trump Is Boss Of Congress Because But His TAXES!
IT'S HERE! And thanks to a global pandemic, so are we! Time to liveblog the Trump finance cases from the comfort of our own home since SCOTUS is coming to you in real time, on the nichest of niche webcam sites.
Whoops, sorry about your breakfast! Mercifully, it's only audio. And you can listen to it yourself right here.
Briefly, when Democrats took back the House in 2017, they set about doing an actual investigation of Trump's probably or maybe failed attempt to collude with the Kremlin to steal the election. Don Jr. and Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi and Ted Malloch were doing their damnedest to grab Wikileaks by Julian Assange's stinky cat, but they just couldn't get there. Or could they?
As part of the investigation, the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees subpoenaed tax and financial records from Mazars, USA, Trump's accountants, plus those dipshits at Deutsche Bank and Capital One who were dumb enough to lend him money. They were not dumb enough to defy a congressional subpoena however, and all three companies were preparing to hand it all over to Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff when Trump sued his own accountants and bankers, plus the House committees, because PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT.
Yeah, the suit was more complicated than that, but not much. The Supreme Court has long upheld the right of Congress to issue enforceable subpoenas, particularly on private parties, for even the most tangential relationship to legislation. Nevertheless, Trump insists that he gets to decide what is a legitimate legislative purpose, and if he decides that Congress is acting in bad faith, he can just order private companies to tell the House to get fucked. It's right there in the Constitution!
Or maybe he just pulled that nonsense out of his orange ass in a desperate attempt to hide the fact that he has eight bucks and a mountain of debt to Igor and Ivan and Istvan and Ignat and ... well, you get the picture.
This case should be a slam dunk, but who the hell even knows any more with these craven assholes.
10:00 First up, Trump's dickhead attorney Patrick Strawbridge insists that this is UNPRECEDENTED, UNLEGAL, OVERREACH. Avowed illegitimate purpose! Blahblahblah.
10:05 Chief Justice Roberts asks a maximalist question about whether Congress can EVER subpoena the president. Strawbridge says Congress can never regulate the president, so obviously can never subpoena him.
10:08 Justice Thomas asks ... nothing. Justice Ginsburg says this is novel not because of congressional overreach, but because Trump is the first one who refused to disclose any information. Noting that "sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," she observes that Clinton's law firm cooperated with the Whitewater investigation, Nixon investigated, etc.
10:10 Strawbridge says just because those wussy bitches cooperated, doesn't mean they have to.
10:12 Oh, look! Justice Thomas figured out how to unmute his mike. He asks if Congress has the power to subpoena any private documents. Strawbridge mumbles some shit. Thomas says how can congress conduct impeachment if they can't do subpoenas. Strawbridge says that's way different because REASONS.
10:15 Justice Breyer asks how Nixon had to hand over his presidential papers, and Trump has a magic shield for his personal papers. Strawbridge says Trump is far too busy to comply with personal subpoenas. He's got insane tweets to fire off!
10:16 Justice Alito asks if Congress can EVER ask for personal information. Strawbridge says no because then they'll be all over his medical records, and then WHAT IS EVEN AMERICA.
10:18 Justice Sotomayor is like BITCH, HOW YOU COMIN' UP HERE AND PRETENDING THAT NIXON NEVER HAPPENED? And these aren't even Trump's papers, they're in the hands of his accountants. Strawbridge just keeps insisting that separation of powers means Congress has to stay out of it.
10:23 Justice Kagan notes that the case is novel not because congress never asked, but because congress and the president always worked it out. She characterizes Trump as asking the Court to put a "ten ton weight" on the scale in favor of the president. Strawbridge blames congress for failing to try to work it out with Trump. As if we didn't watch him give a giant middle finger to every attempt at congressional oversight for the past three years. Kagan is like, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING PRETENDING THAT CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT OF THE PRESIDENT IS NEW? NIXON AND CLINTON MIGHT BEG TO DIFFER.
10:25 Justice Gorsuch asks why Trump gets to decide what congress "needs" because what is even constitution? Strawbridge says that the court has to stay the hell out of it and let Trump give congress a huge middle finger. That is just law!
10:25 Chief Justice Roberts is a-crackin' the whip on the timer! Move along, ya robed blabbermouths!
10:26 Justice Kegstand says, if congress has to demonstrate need for documents, what would the standard be? Strawbridge says they have to put forth valid legislative purpose when it comes to the president. Not for anyone else, just the president. Obviously.
10:28 Next up, Jeffrey Wall from the Solicitor General's office for the PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT argument. He says congress has to show legitimate legislative intent. Chief Justice Roberts asks whether court is supposed to be "probing the mental processes of legislators?" Wall says you can see Nancy Pelosi's "bad intent" and Chairman Elijah Cummings's "improper motive" from the subpoenas themselves.
10:30 Justice Thomas can work phone now, wonders how this is different from impeachment. Wall says, NO IMPEACHMENT, NO IMPEACHMENT, THIS IS NOT IMPEACHMENT. You can just tell congress is Trump haters, so they get nothing for "investigation."
10:32 Justice Ginsburg: WTF are you babbling about? How can you legislate without first investigating? And cut the shit with "impugning congress's motives!"
Wall: The president is a king. If congress wants to investigate a king, and not a mere mortal, then it must show its work!
10:34 Justice Breyer: Why is there a different standard for the president than for every one else in America? Just apply the Paula Jones standard.
(Note that Justice Kavanaugh worked on the Paula Jones case.)
Wall: No grand jury!
10:37 Alito: Splain why House doesn't get to issue subpoenas in Russia investigation?
Wall: But these subpoenas go too far back, so you can tell they have BAD, UNLEGAL MOTIVE.
10:38 Justice Sotomayor: Would you cut the shit and stop pretending that congressional investigation is invalid? That's not law. And why are we supposed to examine congressional motives?
Wall: President is king, not like other men!
10:42 Justice Kagan: Clinton v. Jones! FFS, are we really going to sit here and pretend that Bill Clinton had to sit for deposition, but having a private company hand over his tax returns is just too burdensome?
Wall: PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT! If congress gets these docs, it will "reshape the balance of the separation of the powers!"
(This is really his argument.)
10:45 Justice Gorsuch: Define your actual standards. Like, if we concede the president is king, how would that work?
Wall: Congress has to come before the court and say what law they're considering, or it is unlegal to subpoena anything that touches him. This is different from Paula Jones for REASONS.
10:48 Kavanaugh wants to explore the possibility that they'll be able to punt on this by claiming that the subpoena was illegal because not voted on by the whole congress, just a committee. Wall says congress didn't understand the authorizing legislation for the suboenas when they voted on them.
Kavanaugh asks Wall to differentiate from Watergate and Whitewater. Strawbridge says SLIPPERY SLOPE and WEAPONIZE SUBPOENA and DANGEROUS PRECEDENT. That's not an answer.
10:49 Next up, House Counsel Doug Letter. Letter points out actual language in subpoenas referring to both proposed legislation, and language from House vote referring directly to Trump subpoenas.
10:52 Chief Justice Roberts asks what deference congress, which has almost unlimited scope for legislation, owes to the president as president.
10:54 Justice Thomas: Does congress even HAVE subpoena power? Maybe fifty years of precedent don't exist?
10:56 Justice Ginsburg: How can we be sure that congress won't just harass the president if we say congress can issue subpoenas?
Letter: Check out Clinton v. Jones, it's in there.
10:57 Boy is Justice Breyer PISSED OFF about this case. He's basically shouting GODDAMMIT, THIS IS THE SAME AS CLINTON V. JONES.
11:10 Justice Alito is mad that Letter didn't take seriously the PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT standard. Letter is very sorry, Your Honor, the standard is whether the subpoenas interfere with the president's ability to do his job and also pertinent to a legislative purpose.
11:06 Justice Sotomayor: Oh, FFS, Alito is up in here pretending that we're going to greenlight congress subpoenaing the president's 8th grade report card. Can you please make real clear for this asshole why that's dumb?
Letter: How could there be legitimate legislative purpose in his report card?
Sotomayor: NO SHIT. And did all this shit get fleshed out in the trial and appellate courts?
Letter: Sure did!
11:09 Justice Kagan: Can you believe this shit about them saying that having his tax returns coughed up interferes with president babyshit's busy presidenting schedule?
Letter: I know, right? It's not like he even has to wander away from the television to find a stamp to mail it.
11:12 Justice Gorsuch: How can congress use subpoena? Isn't subpoena for crimes?
Letter: Pertinent to legislative purpose.
Gorsuch: But it is unlegal for congress to investigate crimes?
Letter: Hey, how about that Bridgegate conviction you overturned last week? Don't you think it would be good if Congress investigated that so that we can change the law so those assholes could stay in jail?
11:16 It is fucking excruciating to watch Brett Fucking Kavanaugh, a guy who participated in subpoenaing an examination of Bill Clinton's dick, pretending that it is insane overreach to allow congress to investigate the president. This guy is SHAMELESS.
Hey, remember that time when Justice Kegstand said Clinton had to personally testify? And now he's up there pretending that congress is going to subpoena the president's medical records. Such an unspeakable piece of shit.
11:21 Chief Justice Roberts: Isn't the number of committees investigating the president is proof of PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT?
Letter: What? They asked for the same stuff.
Roberts: And now the state of New York is subpoenaing Trump, too. Isn't that presidential harassment?
Letter: How is that relevant?
Roberts: Senate can issue subpoenas. HARASSMENT?
11:24 Thomas: So many subpoenas is HARRASSMENT?
Letter: What? These are subpoenas to third parties. How is congress responsible for state subpoenas?
Thomas: "I think we all know it's about the president."
Oooh, girl, your slip is showing!
11:26 Justice Breyer: Okay, but cut the shit, of course Trump is burdened by having to worry about what his accountants are turning over to his political enemies.
Letter: This isn't any different from what happened before. And Trump never claimed privilege or overburdening until he got to SCOTUS.
11:28 Alito: What if Nancy Pelosi subpoenas Mitch McConnell's financial records? Separation of powers?
11:30 Kagan: What's the difference between the HIPSCI subpoenas and the Financial Services Committee's subpoena? Fin Serv wants ten years of records, should we consider if that's too much?
Letter: Do you really want the court to be in a position of subpoenaing congress to explain its reasoning? Talk about a slippery slope! And let's not forget that DB and Capital One are skeevy AF, so ...
11:33 Fucking Kavanaugh is back again to cry more crocodile tears about "limiting principles" and "start down this road with too low a standard." Lest we forget, this guy participated in cornering a 22-year-old intern and threatening to put her parents in jail. He got her friend to secretly record her conversations. Didn't give a shit about "legitimate legislative purpose" and "personal records" back then. THEY DREW CLINTON'S BLOOD to match it to the semen on the blue dress. FOH!
AND WE ARE DONE.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.