We’ve been expecting this based on the prior rulings and statements in the case, and this afternoon it became official: a federal judge has ruled that Donald Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars must turn over his financial records to the various Democratic-controlled House committees that have subpoenaed them. So now what?
There are two key aspects here. First, Mazars and the other subpoenaed financial institutions – including Deutsche Bank and Capital One – reportedly already began cooperating with House Democrats on this matter long before Donald Trump decided to try to stop it with last minute legal action. In fact Maxine Waters announced on MSNBC more than a month ago that Deutsche Bank had already turned over some of Trump’s records. So the financial institutions are apparently not interested in protecting Trump at all; they’ve merely been waiting for the judge to make a decision. This is very different from the legal battle to get Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, which could try to (illegally) refuse to turn them over even if a judge orders it too.
This brings us to the second key aspect. Donald Trump will likely try to appeal this ruling. But the law is so clear-cut here, even he surely knows he can’t win. His only hope has been to drag out the legal process for as long as possible. This judge has set precedent by fast tracking this case, making it likely that the appeals court will do the same. So a short time from now we can expect the appeals court to rule against Trump. Then the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear the case. Despite five conservatives on the high court, there is no reason to expect that any of them – except perhaps Trump’s lapdog Kavanaugh – would side with him on such a ridiculously lopsided legal matter.
The bottom line: House Democrats scored a major victory today in the battle to obtain Donald Trump’s financial records. This legal process isn’t moving nearly as quickly as the Resistance would like, but it’s moving far more quickly than the most skeptical of pundits were predicting. Keep in mind that this legal battle will continue to play out even as House Democrats pursue more high stakes methods of breaking through Trump’s defenses.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report