Judge rules against Trump on records


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

A federal judge ruled against President Donald Trump on Monday in a financial-records dispute with Congress and said lawmakers should get the documents they have subpoenaed. Trump called it a “crazy” decision that his lawyers would appeal.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta comes amid a widespread effort by the White House and Trump’s attorneys to refuse to cooperate with congressional requests for information and records.

In ruling that Trump cannot block the financial-records subpoena, Judge Mehta said the Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee had “valid legislative purposes” for its request and that it was not for him “to question whether the Committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations.”

The committee has said the records will help it consider whether to strengthen ethics and disclosure laws, among other things, said Judge Mehta, who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama.

Trump pointed to his Democratic predecessor when he told reporters before leaving the White House for a Monday night rally in Pennsylvania that “we think it’s totally the wrong decision by, obviously, an Obama-appointed judge.”

To the committee chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the judge’s decision was a “resounding victory for the rule of law and our constitutional system of checks and balances.”

Trump’s lawyers, in cases from Washington and New York challenging the Democrats’ demands, argued that congressional investigations are legitimate only if there is legislation that might result from them.

“There is no possible legislation at the end of this tunnel,” the president’s legal team said.

The White House made the same argument Friday when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would not comply with a congressional subpoena for six years of Trump’s tax returns.

In the New York case, Trump, his business and family want to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with House subpoenas for banking and financial records. A Wednesday court hearing is planned.

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