The Trump administration has been hit with a slew of subpoenas from a variety of Democrat-controlled House committees over the past few months, including dozens of probing demands with which the White House has largely refused to comply.
The administration suffered a loss on Monday as a federal district judge ruled in favor of a congressional subpoena that sought to force a private accounting firm to turn over eight years of records related to President Donald Trump and the Trump organization.
Setback for Trump in records battle
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who was nominated to the court just a few years prior by former President Barack Obama, issued a sweeping ruling that almost entirely deferred to Congress and supported the demands made of the White House and those associated with it.
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow noted that the ruling would be immediately appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. It is worth noting that Judge Mehta also rejected a White House request to issue a stay on his ruling pending appeal.
The subpoena was issued by the House Oversight and Reform Committee to the accounting firm Mazars USA, and it included a demand for eight years of financial records pertaining to then-citizen Trump and his namesake business empire, ostensibly in search of financial crimes possibly committed prior to Trump’s presidency.
The underlying basis for the subpoena was testimony from
White House attorneys and Republicans put forward a number of legal arguments against the subpoena, but Judge Mehta knocked each one down in his ruling.
Mehta’s decision will no doubt be seized upon by Democrats as a win and complete justification for the plethora of legal slings and arrows they are aiming at the president and members of his administration.
It could also serve as a basis for future rulings by other federal judges hearing arguments related to separate subpoenas currently under review in different courts, unless, of course, it is reversed on appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court.
Unsurprisingly, President Trump called the ruling “wrong” and “ridiculous” on Monday, which is in line with his prior criticisms of the Democrat-led House committees and their voluminous volley of subpoena attacks against him.
Trump has characterized the many demands as being improper and a blatant abuse of Congressional authority, little more than an extension of the failed Russian collusion witch hunt that dogged his first two years in office.
Judge Mehta obviously didn’t see it that way, and it will be interesting to see what the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has to say about his ruling. Regardless of how the court decides the matter, this case has the potential to reach the U.S. Supreme Court for an ultimate determination of the length and breadth of Congressional subpoena powers.