Judge rules against Trump in lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records

Saul Bowman
May 21, 2019

A federal judge on Monday denied President Trump's bid to quash a House subpoena for years of his financial records from his accounting firm and stayed his order seven days to allow the president's lawyers time to appeal.

The Trump administration has balked at a number of subpoenas and document demands, on everything from the president's tax returns to financial records, that House Democrats' investigations are more about embarrassing the president than an attempt to engage in legitimate oversight.

Citing the justice department guidance, her statement added: "The former Counsel to the President can not be forced to give such testimony, and Mr McGahn has been directed to act accordingly".

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Then-White House counsel Don McGahn looks on as President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in October 2018.

The House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler subpoenaed McGahn after special counsel Robert Mueller wrote in his report that McGahn testified that Trump told him to fire Mueller. President Trump is traveling to Louisiana. They've accused Trump and Attorney General William Barr of trying to stonewall and obstruct Congress' oversight duties.

US Congressman Elijah Cummings earlier issued a subpoena to Mazars USA to obtain Trump's private financial records as a means of learning whether he committed illegal activity before becoming the US president.

The committee kicked off a wide-ranging investigation in March into President Donald Trump for allegations of obstruction of justice and abuses of power.

"This move is just the latest act of obstruction from the White House that includes its blanket refusal to cooperate with this Committee", Nadler said in a statement.

"The immunity of the President's immediate advisors from compelled congressional testimony on matters related to their official responsibilities has always been recognized and arises from the fundamental workings of the separation of powers", the opinion stated.

To support its decision, the White House provided a Department of Justice legal opinion.

"The House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena to try and force Mr. McGahn to testify again".

Mr McGahn was interviewed for 30 hours by Mr Mueller's team of investigators, and was frequently cited in their 448-page report, released in April.

Cipollone echoed the DOJ in his letter, writing that McGahn is "absolutely immune" from testimony and thus "the President has directed Mr. McGahn not to appear".

The Justice Department has long held the opinion that close presidential advisers have "absolute immunity" from being compelled to testify before Congress about their work for the president.

U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he walks toward Marine One before departing from the White House on May 14, 2019 in Washington, DC.

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