Courts aren’t buying Trump’s claim that he is immune from oversight. But that won’t matter if he runs out the clock.
We still don’t know what’s in the financial records investigators hope to uncover, and we might not know what’s in these documents for a very long time. In the New York case, Trump v. Vance, the Second Circuit stayed the district court’s decision “pending expedited review by a panel of the Court,” which could be scheduled as early as next week.
The DC Circuit case, Trump v. Mazars, is also in limbo. Though the appeals court ruled against Trump on Friday, the court announced shortly thereafter that the order would not take effect right away — and could likely be delayed even further if Trump files a petition asking all eleven of the DC Circuit’s judges to rehear the case.
It should go without saying that a congressional oversight process that allows for this sort of delay is profoundly broken. Democrats took over the House last January, in part on a promise to subject Trump to the kind of oversight that Republicans avoided when they controlled the House. A federal district judge first held that Mazars must comply with the subpoena last May. It’s now October, and even if the Supreme Court denies a stay of the DC Circuit’s decision, we are probably months away from the day when the subpoena is enforced.
In Eastland, the Supreme Court indicated that court proceedings seeking to block congressional oversight of the president should “be given the most expeditious treatment by district courts because one branch of Government is being asked to halt the functions of a coordinate branch.” But these cases have not been given such treatment once the district court issued its order. As a result, Trump may win his bid to prevent the Mazars subpoenas from doing any damage to him, even if he ultimately loses in court