DOJ Must Take Position In Trump Bid To Shut Down House Probe, Court Says

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) stands with Attorney General William Barr before the presentation of the Public Safety Officer Medals of Valor in the East Room of the White House May 22, 2019... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) stands with Attorney General William Barr before the presentation of the Public Safety Officer Medals of Valor in the East Room of the White House May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. Comparable to the military's Medal of Honor, the Medal of Valor was established in 2000 by President Bill Clinton. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 15, 2019 10:45 a.m.

An appeals court on Monday ordered the Justice Department to state its position in a case that President Trump filed to shut down a House investigation of his finances.

The government must file an amicus brief by Aug. 6, the court said, in a case where Trump hired personal attorneys to prevent his longtime accountant from complying with a Congressional subpoena for his financial records.

After a D.C. federal judge upheld the subpoena, Trump filed an appeal.

During oral arguments on Friday, judges at the D.C. appeals court repeatedly questioned the President’s personal attorney William Consovoy about whether his representation of Trump extended to the President in his official capacity.

Consovoy has argued that its unique position rendered it immune from any Congressional oversight or regulation, repeatedly telling the appeals court that, in his view, Congress could neither subpoena information relating to the President nor enact laws mandating financial disclosures on the commander-in-chief.

At one point at the Friday hearing, Judge Neomi Rao asked Consovoy why the government did not have attorneys at the hearing, “if these arguments are about the office of the presidency.”

Consovoy deflected at the hearing, saying that he could only speak for his representation.

Judge Patricia Millett pointed out during the exchange that the Justice Department sent an attorney during arguments in Clinton v. Jones, a case that examined whether presidential immunity rendered civil damages claims impossible to pursue.

Trump’s decision to hire personal attorneys to sue various organizations that have received Congressional subpoenas for his financial records comes nearly without precedent.

Responses to the DOJ’s brief are due by Aug. 20.

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