We’ll be waiting for at least a few days to find out how a federal judge will rule in a lawsuit brought by President Trump challenging a House committee’s subpoena of his accounting firm.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta announced at the start of Tuesday’s hearing that he would not be announcing a decision from the bench; the case was too important to make a “hasty” decision, he said.
However, he also denied the Trump lawyer’s request that there be additional briefing in the case before it is decided on the merits. Instead, Mehta is leaving the record open until May 18 for the parties to submit any additional information they want him to consider.
Among those submissions will be a memorandum of understanding that Trump had been seeking, purportedly between the House Oversight Committee and other House committees, regarding their investigations into the President’s finances.
The lawyer for the House, Doug Letter, said Tuesday that the MOU had “nothing” to do with Dems’ subpoena of the accounting firm, but rather had to do with the committees’ sharing information from a separate investigation into Trump’s finances. Nonetheless he offered to submit it under seal for the judge to review. Mehta took him up on that offer, and requested that it be submitted by Thursday.
When the judge makes his decision, it will by no means be the end of the story with this case, which could set the tone for how Congress’ efforts to investigate Trump fare in court. Trump has taken a very aggressive legal stance — in both this case, and more broadly in his posture towards most of Congress’ subpoenas — and he appears to be betting on the typically slow-moving legal process to let him drag out compliance with Congress’ requests for years.
Indeed, there was some discussion Tuesday that this specific case would likely be appealed to a higher court once Mehta handed down his decision. Trump’s attorney Will Consovoy suggested that if Mehta ruled against Trump, he might ask that the judge temporarily pause that decision so Trump could appeal it. Letter, the lawyer for the House, encouraged Mehta not to issue such a pause — known as a “stay” — but said that if Mehta was going to do so, it should come with certain conditions, such as requiring Trump to appeal the case in a set number of days and to ask for expedited briefing.
Mehta said his decision in the case would make clear how he will handle those next steps.