Congressman Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committeee, celebrated the supreme court’s decision today as a recognition that the president is not above the law.
But Schiff, who served as the lead impeachment manager during Trump’s Senate trial, expressed disappointment that the court had set a new standard for congressional oversight.
“No one is above the law, not even the President of the United States. Nor are they immune from congressional oversight or criminal investigation, no matter how much they endeavor to delay or evade them,” Schiff said in a new statement.
“While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court abandoned its prior precedent and promulgated a new standard for Congressional subpoenas implicating the President, we are grateful that the Court reaffirmed Congress’ broad power to investigate in aid of its legislative authority.”
Schiff acknowledged the court’s decision would delay the House investigations but expressed confidence that Democrats would ultimately prevail in their legal battle.
“The Supreme Court’s remand of this case to permit the lower courts to apply the new standard will serve to delay the Committee’s investigation — and, given the risk of foreign influence over this President, such delay is dangerous — but we remain confident that we will ultimately prevail,” Schiff said. “And in light of the President’s tweets this morning, he appears to believe the same.”
Meanwhile, in New York, a Black Lives Matter mural is being painted on the section of Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower today.
The president has previously complained about the planned mural, saying the anti-racist message would be “denigrating” the “luxury avenue” on which his property sits.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio fired back at Trump last week, “Black people BUILT 5th Ave and so much of this nation. … We are honoring them. The fact that you see it as denigrating your street is the definition of racism.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the supreme court’s decision today gives House Democrats “a path” to obtain Trump’s financial records, even though they will not receive them right now.
“We have a path that the Supreme Court has laid out that we will certainly not ignore and we will never stop our oversight,” Pelosi said. “That is our responsibility under the constitution of the United States.”
The Democratic speaker indicated that she and her caucus had reasonable expectations about the court’s decision going into today.
Pelosi said, “There was never any way they were going to give us the records right now, but they would give us a path to the records.”
House Democrats, including judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler, are emphasizing that today’s rulings mean the president is not above the law.
During the Trump impeachment inquiry and trial, Democrats frequently said that no one is above the law to argue their case against the president.
Congressman Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House judiciary committee, lamented the fact that today’s supreme court decisions mean the cases involving Trump’s financial records will continue.
“For almost four years, Democrats have been singularly focused on attacking President Trump for political gain,” Jordan said in a statement.
“Today’s decisions by the Supreme Court sadly will not end the Democrats’ partisan obsession. Americans around the country deserve better than the Democrats’ never-ending political games.”
There appears to be an interesting divide developing among Trump and his allies in terms of their responses to today’s rulings.
Trump, and now Jordan as well, have complained that the court should have given the president more authority to essentially ignore these subpoenas for his financial records.
But one of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, celebrated the fact that the court’s rulings mean there will be a delay in the release of the records, meaning they will almost certainly not be made public before the November election.
Pelosi pledges to continue legal battle to obtain Trump’s financial records
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would continue its legal efforts to obtain Trump’s financial records after the supreme court sent the case back to a lower court.
“A careful reading of the Supreme Court rulings related to the President’s financial records is not good news for President Trump,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“The Court has reaffirmed the Congress’s authority to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people, as it asks for further information from the Congress. Congress’s constitutional responsibility to uncover the truth continues, specifically related to the President’s Russia connection that he is hiding.
“The Congress will continue to conduct oversight For The People, upholding the separation of powers that is the genius of our Constitution. We will continue to press our case in the lower courts.”
At her weekly press conference, the Democratic speaker said the court’s decision sent a clear message that the president is not above the law, a frequent rallying cry for Democrats during the impeachment inquiry.
Striking a notably different tone than the president, one of Trump’s lawyers is celebrating today’s supreme court decisions.
“We are pleased that in the decisions issued today, the Supreme Court has temporarily blocked both Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining the President’s financial records,” lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement.
“We will now proceed to raise additional Constitutional and legal issues in the lower courts.”
As Sekulow notes, today’s decisions mean there will be additional legal battles over the subpoenas in the months to come, virtually ensuring the president’s financial records will not be seen before the November election.
Trump is still tweeting away, painting himself as the victim of a double standard in comparison to the “totally corrupt previous Administration.”
“Now the Supreme Court gives a delay ruling that they would never have given … for another president,” the president tweeted.
“This is about PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT,” Trump said of the subpoenas for his financial records.
“We catch the other side SPYING on my campaign, the biggest political crime and scandal in U.S. history, and NOTHING HAPPENS.”
Trump criticizes ‘political prosection’ of financial records cases
Trump has now weighed in (via Twitter, of course) on this morning’s supreme court decisions involving subpoenas for his financial records.
“The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution,” the presient said.
“I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!”
Trump took specific aim at the court in a separate tweet, implying the justices were holding him to a different standard than past presidents.
“Courts in the past have given “broad deference”. BUT NOT ME!” Trump said.
Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance issued a statement celebrating the supreme court’s ruling that the president is not categorically immune from grand jury requests.
“This is a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one – not even a president – is above the law,” Vance said.
“Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury’s solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead.”
In terms of the substance of the two supreme court decisions, the opinions mark a defeat for Trump because the justices rejected his legal team’s argument that the president should be immune from such proceedings.
However, the president appears to have secured a victory in terms of the logistics of the decisions.
The justices ruled that Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance may receive the president’s tax returns and financial records. However, even if Vance can get the records soon, they will likely not be made public because they will be turned over to a grand jury, legally requiring them to be kept secret.
In terms of the House subpoenas, the supreme court sent the case back down to the lower court to more closely consider separation of powers issues. That will almost certainly delay the release of Trump’s financial records to the committees until after the election.
So the court has made an important decision in terms of executive power, but this virtually guarantees the American people will not see the president’s financial records before heading to the polls in November.