Last month, a federal court held that President Trump cannot block a House subpoena targeting Trump’s accounting firm, which seeks many of Trump’s financial records. On Monday, Trump’s lawyers filed a brief asking a federal appeals court to reverse this decision, and their very first argument is a doozy.
The brief opens with a direct appeal to the Supreme Court’s corrupt self-interest.
Trump has no legal basis to resist the subpoena. As Judge Amit Mehta explained in his opinion ruling against Trump, “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.” In this case, the financial documents the House seeks “will aid its consideration of strengthening ethics and disclosure laws, as well as amending the penalties for violating such laws” — among other things.
Moreover, even if Congress was not contemplating legislation to shore up ethics laws against a corrupt president, the Supreme Court explained in a 1957 opinion that Congress may “inquire into and publicize corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in agencies of the Government.”
Faced with a bevy of precedents establishing that Trump has no legal case whatsoever, Trump’s lawyers appeal instead to a bizarre kind of solidarity between the sitting president and the members of the Supreme Court — protect my corruption, the lawyers write, and you’ll also shield corruption by the justices themselves.
“Replace ‘President’ with ‘Justices,’” Trump’s lawyer’s write, “and the ruling below would, without question, authorize a congressional subpoena for the Justices’ accounting records — even for many years before they joined the Court.”
“Even for many years before they joined the Court.” I wonder to whom this may be referring to?