U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled against President Trump and his legal team on Monday, issuing a decision that would seem to open a path for House Democrats to investigate the president’s financial records.
Trump lawyers appealed the U.S. District Court’s decision on Tuesday.
In April, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena for Trump’s financial records from his accounting firm, Mazars, seeking access to both Trump’s personal and business records. In response, Trump’s lawyers filed suit in the U.S. District Court of Washington D.C. in order to block the congressional subpoena, contending that the subpoena did not show a legitimate legislative purpose and should therefore be deemed invalid.
However, Judge Mehta, who was appointed under the Obama administration, granted House Democrats a fairly liberal interpretation of their right to investigate the president. In his decision, Mehta stated, “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.”
Mehta stated further, “It is not for the court to question whether the Committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations.…To be sure, there are limits on Congress’s investigative authority. But those limits do not substantially constrain Congress.”
President Trump called the District Court’s decision “crazy,” telling reporters, “As far as the financials are concerned, it’s totally the wrong decision.”
In its court filings, Trump’s legal team accused Democrats of declaring an “all-out political war” against the president.
The case will now move on to a federal appeals court in Washington D.C. If the appeals court reverses the lower court decision, the case would then become eligible for consideration by the Supreme Court.