Checks and balances are cool unless there is a Republican in the White House
The courts take notice that Congress has the power to check on the executive branch of government. How about that?
Finally. Not one, but two federal courts have ruled that Trump’s accounting firms and banks must honor a subpoena from Congress for Trump’s financial records. In one court, the judge ruled in favor of Congress without providing a stay upon appeal. In another case, the judge ruled in favor of Congress, but with a one-week deadline for appeal. Of course, Trump is hoping for a delay long enough to traverse the election next year. Stall and delay. It’s a common tactic of people who think that time is on their side.
Trump has declared every investigation of his administration by a Democratically controlled Congress to be a “witch hunt”. It’s interesting to see that Trump believes that all of the investigations of Trump by Congress are “political”. I suppose Trump has a rather selective memory. Who could forget that the Benghazi investigation into Hillary Clinton was really about dumping her poll numbers?
Trump seems to have a very selective view of Congressional oversight, too. If a Democrat is in the White House and Congress investigates, well, that’s Congress exercising Congressional oversight. But if there is a Republican in the White House, that’s nothing but a political machination designed by the Democrats to tilt the next big election in their favor.
In Trump’s world, we’re supposed to believe that Republicans are mature, free of corruption, free of the temptation to use their office for personal gain, right? How mature are those Republicans? I can clearly recall Donald Trump at a rally whereupon mention of Hillary Clinton, the crowd chanted “Lock Her Up!” Trump would have us believe that’s not political. But what he does in public is theater and Trump is an actor. You can still find him on the Internet Movie Database. Sometimes I wonder if Trump ever breaks character.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled against the Trump Administration in their lawsuit against a Congressional subpoena for financial records. In a 41 page ruling, Judge Mehta made the following statement:
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.
Trump is fighting a legitimate power of Congress, one that has been delegated to it by the Constitution. Whether or not that power is being used for a political purpose or not was an issue deferred to Congress by the court. In his ruling, Mehta pointed out that it is not his job to second guess Congress. It is his job to interpret the law.
Republicans have noted that Judge Mehta was appointed by Obama. Perhaps the Democrats did some forum shopping prior to filing the lawsuit. One would hope then, that we have courts that are staffed with impartial judges. I recall that Trump has expressed some glee about his appointment of “105 wonderful new judges”. Are those judges impartial?
But I wonder, did Trump want to have someone in his corner on the subpoena fights? Maybe even an impeachment fight? I checked the list of Trump court appointees and he has at least 2 appellate confirmations in the DC Court of Appeals. That would be right where he needs them to fight the subpoenas.
OK, guess who is going to preside over the appeal of Mehta’s ruling? Former Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. You may remember that Garland was nominated by President Barack Obama, but was never seated due to obstruction by Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell. Such sweet, sweet irony.
Trump! The innocent, pious president. Trump! The poor, poor president. Trump! The victim of the “mainstream media” and sinister purveyor of “fake news” that gave him $1 billion in free campaign coverage in 2016. Trump! A man squeaky clean of corruption. Just ask Bill Barr! Since Trump is so confident that he’s done nothing wrong, he should have no problem allowing witnesses to testify under subpoena.
Why all the stonewalling, Mr. President? Why are you intimidating witnesses not to testify? The Don says, “Gosh, you have a really nice family. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to them if you decide to testify. That would be so sad! Maybe you really shouldn’t testify before Congress.”
Trump must be really worried that witnesses may spill the beans. Why else would he intimidate witnesses not to testify? Trump has “ordered” Don McGahn not to honor a subpoena from Congress with his appearance. According to USA Today, “President Trump said Thursday that he won’t allow former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress.”
Wait. Don McGahn is a “former” White House Counsel? So Trump is telling a former employee that he cannot testify? Does McGahn even have an obligation to honor an order by someone who is not even his boss anymore?
I note also that Republicans are saying that Democrats are so busy investigating Trump that they aren’t “governing” the country. Really? So Trump’s stonewalling Congress has no adverse effect on his ability to govern?
I’m not sure how all this is going to play out. But I hope that Democrats understand that no matter what these investigations turn up, I want someone who is more than just “better than Trump” to be nominated to run against Trump next year.
And I hope that the Republicans will man-up and let the investigations proceed for the sake of their party. If Trump is truly as innocent as they believe he is, he has nothing to hide. I also think that someone should tell the GOP that Trump just sold them a 3-mile spool of rope.