Democrats are strengthening their court cases against Trump with this new measure. It is initially designed to bolster their subpoena power in one specific case (their attempt to obtain records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, so they can determine if Trump lied in financial disclosures as Michael Cohen has alleged), but it will also strengthen House subpoenas in all other Trump-related investigations.
House Democrats are preparing to pass a measure intended to strengthen their court case to access President Donald Trump’s personal financial information, a direct response to questions raised by a Trump-appointed judge during an Appeals Court hearing earlier this month.
The proposal, filed Tuesday afternoon by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), would formally declare that any committee subpoenas related to President Donald Trump, his family, current and former White House officials and the Trump Organization are presumed to have the blessing of the full House of Representatives. The Rules Committee is expected to advance the measure Tuesday night, and the House is expected to pass it on Wednesday.
“We want to make it doubly clear,” Raskin said in an interview. “Essentially, you know, it’s just making it perfectly clear that the committees are acting with the full authorities of Congress.”
The measure, recommended by House counsel Doug Letter, responds to a line of questioning by Neomi Rao, a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, who is one of three judges weighing a Democratic subpoena to access records from Trump’s personal accounting firm. During oral arguments earlier this month, Rao repeatedly wondered why the full House hadn’t voted to authorize the probe of Trump’s finances, which is being led by the House Oversight Committee.
Letter responded that the House rules explicitly authorize the committees to lead this work and that judges have no role second-guessing how the House delegates its power. But it appears he’s urging a House vote anyway to preempt Rao’s concerns.
"Whereas the validity of some of these investigations has been incorrectly challenged in Federal court on the ground that the investigations and subpoenas were not authorized by the full House … Resolved, That the House of Representatives ratifies and affirms all current and future investigations, as well as all subpoenas previously issued or to be issued in the future," the resolution reads.
Raskin’s measure will be tucked into a rule expected to be taken up by the House late Tuesday that governs pending pension legislation. It doesn’t change any House rules but attempts to clarify the House’s position amid the pushback from Rao and Trump’s personal lawyers.
A three-judge panel in the D.C. Appeals Court is weighing a Trump lawsuit to block the Oversight Committee’s subpoena to Mazars, Trump’s longtime accounting firm, for years’ worth of his financial data. It’s part of a probe into whether Trump has misrepresented his assets and liabilities, based on testimony from his former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen.