Judge expedites Trump lawsuit blocking Democrat subpoena for his business records

May 13, 2019

Democrats seeking President Donald Trump’s business records may get them sooner than previously thought.

A federal judge expedited a dispute between Democrats and President Trump over records from his accounting firm, Mazars USA, Thursday. Democrats subpoenaed the documents from Trump’s accounting firm amid a wider push for his tax returns and other business records.

Trump sued the Democrats to block the documents, but now the case will skip right to the trial stage after U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama nominee, ruled there was no reason for delay.

Judge orders Trump-Democrat dispute

In the order Thursday, Mehta wrote that the only question, whether Democrats on the Oversight Committee have the authority to issue the subpoena, has been answered in full and that “the court can discern no benefit from an additional round of legal arguments.” Mehta wrote that the case will proceed to trial after a Tuesday hearing unless either party has an objection, which he demanded by a Monday afternoon deadline.

“Nor is there an obvious need to delay ruling on the merits to allow for development of the factual record,”  he wrote.

House Oversight and Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) issued the subpoena in April, prompting a lawsuit from Trump’s lawyers to block the records. The subpoena came after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that Trump and his accountants manipulated his accounts.

The judge’s ruling means that Democrats may get those records sooner now if they win the case.

Trump’s lawyers objected to Mehta’s ruling Monday, saying it gave Trump’s lawyers “short notice” before the Tuesday hearing and that it wrongly folded legal arguments into a single hearing in a way that would “undermine [Trump’s] constitutional due-process rights.”

“Consolidation is inappropriate at this juncture because Plaintiffs have received no responsive pleadings, have had little time to investigate their claims, and have been given no discovery,” the lawyers wrote.

Oversight, or partisan nonsense?

Democrats have issued similar subpoenas in recent weeks, for Trump’s tax returns, bank records, and other documents, like the unredacted Mueller report. Trump has fought back with lawsuits against requests for his records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, and even invoked executive privilege to block the Mueller report’s release last week.

Democrats claim that they are just exercising their constitutional power of “oversight” to uphold the checks and balances of the American government. Trump and his lawyers have objected to the subpoenas by arguing that they have no “legitimate legislative purpose.” Trump’s team insisted that the subpoenas are instead being used to stage a partisan attack on Trump, in what the president calls a campaign of “presidential harassment” past its expiration date.

“‘Oversight’ and ‘transparency,’ in a vacuum, are not legitimate legislative purposes that can justify subpoenaing a private citizen,” Trump lawyers wrote in court documents. “For more than a century, in fact, the Supreme Court has been quite ‘sure’ that neither the House nor Senate ‘possesses the general power of making inquiry into the private affairs of the citizen.’”

President Trump’s vows to block all Democrat subpoenas has sparked a new Democrat narrative that there is a “constitutional crisis.” The Democrats claim that Trump is acting like a tyrant and upending the rule of law by not complying with their demands, and they have threatened to hold Trump officials in contempt of Congress for not co-operating. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold attorney general William Barr in contempt Wednesday.

In the hands of another Congress, one with more good faith, the Democrats’ demands might be justified. But this so-called “oversight” is nothing but partisan nonsense. They lost on collusion, so now they’ve moved on to the next circus.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.