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Trump’s attorneys tell judge Congress has no authority to investigate any president’s personal affairs

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President Donald Trump is trying to stop Congress from investigating him and from obtaining his financial records. His attorneys appear ready to do or say just about anything.

Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon would likely be surprised over the latest claim by President Donald Trump’s personal attorneys: That Congress has no authority to investigate the personal affairs of any sitting President, as Buzzfeed’s Zoe Tillman reports.

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The highly-controversial claim was made in court on Tuesday by Trump’s personal attorney, William Consovoy, who “argued that Congress had little, if any, power to investigate a president, to the point of avoiding a direct answer on the lawfulness of two of Congress’s most famous investigations — former president Richard Nixon’s role in the Watergate scandal and former president Bill Clinton’s role in the Whitewater scandal.”

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta “asked how Consovoy’s argument squared with Supreme Court precedent that said Congress didn’t have to point to specific legislation to justify its investigative demands,” Buzzfeed explains. “Consovoy said Democrats had repeatedly made clear that subpoenaing Trump wasn’t about adopting legislation, and that Congress’s oversight power was more about the actions of federal agencies, not the president himself.”

If all this sounds like more gobbledygook from Trump’s tweets, you’re not alone.

Attorney Luppe B. Luppen, who writes for Yahoo News and Just Security, and more frequently on Twitter, offers this critique of Trump’s attorney’s argument:

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USA Today adds that Judge Mehta “suggested history might not be on the president’s side, saying courts had not found that Congress overstepped its subpoena authority since 1880 and questioning Trump’s lawyers about the basis for previous investigations of presidents.”

Tillman sums up Trump’s strategy: “Buy time, go big, and prepare to lose.” Then appeal.

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In other words: Wash. Rinse. Repeat. And run out the clock.


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