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Federal court cites need to ‘save the people from autocracy’ as it rejects Trump effort to hide financial records

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A federal appeals court on Friday rejected President Donald Trump’s attempt to block a House Oversight Committee subpoena demanding eight years of his financial records.

“We’re one step closer to holding him accountable today,” tweeted progressive advocacy group Tax March in response to the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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The decision in the case was 2-1, with Trump appointee Naomi Rao dissenting. The ruling affirms a lower court decision that ordered Mazars USA, Trump’s longtime accounting firm, to turn over eight years of the president’s tax and financial documents.

“Today’s ruling is a fundamental and resounding victory for congressional oversight, our constitutional system of checks and balances, and the rule of law,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement. “For far too long, the president has placed his personal interests over the interests of the American people. After months of delay, it is time for the President to stop blocking Mazars from complying with the committee’s lawful subpoena.”

Eric Colombus, who served in the Justice Department under President Barack Obama, warned Rao’s lonely dissent means “Dems shouldn’t pop corks just yet.”

“The Trump appointee dissented,” Colombus tweeted, “giving Trump some hope that he might eke out a (ridiculous) win” if he appeals the ruling to the Supreme Court.

The court’s 66-page majority opinion, authored by Judges David Tatel Patricia Millett, rejects Trump’s argument that House Democrats’ subpoena lacks legislative purpose and stresses that Congress has the constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the president.

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“Contrary to the president’s arguments, the committee possesses authority under both House rules and the constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply,” the opinion states.

Tatel and Millett cite former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’s 1926 argument that the purpose of separation of powers is “not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy.”

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US Supreme Court agrees to decide if taxpayer funded religious adoption agencies can discriminate against LGBTQ people

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The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear a case that could determine if taxpayer-funded religious organizations, including adoption and foster care agencies, can legally discriminate against LGBTQ people. Monday morning the conservative-majority court agreed to hear Fulton v. Philadelphia, which is being litigated by the far right wing Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Catholic Social Services is claiming it has a First Amendment right to discriminate against same-sex couples and LGBTQ people, – including refusing to allow them to adopt or foster children – while still accepting taxpayer funds.

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Julian Assange lawyer tells court: After pardon fell through, Trump administration resorted to ‘extortion’

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An attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused the Trump administration of extortion in a London court on Monday.

The WikiLeaks attorney appeared at Woolwich Crown Court along with U.S. prosecutors, who argued that Assange should be extradited the United States, where he faces 18 charges and up to 175 years in jail.

Attorneys for Assange previously told the court that former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tried to broker a pardon deal between the White House and Assange if he would agree to say that Russia was not the source of hacked Democratic Party emails.

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Black teens shocked after basketball announcer calls their names ‘disgusting’

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A longtime announcer at high-school basketball games in Oklahoma sparked outrage last week when he said that black players on the Crooked Oak High School lady's basketball team had "disgusting" names.

Local news station KFOR reports that the announcer made the remarks during a game between Crooked Oak and rival Newkirk High School on Friday.

In a video taken at the game, the announcer can be heard saying, "The Crooked Oak Lady Ruff Necks, now their names are pretty disgusting."

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