Frances Ball 12 Jun 2019 11:03am

Mazars subpoena “unconstitutional” Trump lawyers say

US president Donald Trump’s lawyers have continued to fight against the subpoena

In a brief filed in Washington DC last week, Trump’s personal attorney, William Consovoy, continued to stymie Congress’s access to the president’s financial records.

Democrat-controlled Congress has issued subpoenas to Mazars for the records, which are now the focus of a lengthy legal battle between the House Oversight Committee and the executive branch.

Last month, two federal judges ruled against the president’s attempt to block Congress’s subpoena to Mazars.

In the new brief, Consovoy and his team argue that Congress does not have the constitutional right to conduct an investigation on this scale. “Properly analysed, this subpoena exceeds Congress’s investigative authority,” the brief reads.

“As the record demonstrates, and as speaker Pelosi recently confirmed, this investigation is not about legislation. It is about trying to prove that the president broke the law – an exercise of law-enforcement authority that the Constitution reserves to the executive branch,” the president’s legal team wrote.

Consovoy’s team is doubling down on an affirmation that they have made previously, that the investigation itself is unlawful.

Their argument rests on the illegality of Congress investigating a president for criminal conduct, which they say only the Justice Department can do – but even it cannot then indict the president.

Moreover, they make the claim that any legislation on the subjects of the investigation would be “unconstitutional”.

“Since the Constitution creates the office of the president, he is not an agency that Congress creates or controls, and the committee’s ‘informing function’ cannot justify this subpoena,” they argue.

Oral arguments in the US Court of Appeals against the subpoena are scheduled for 12 July.