- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The House Democrats’ lawsuit demanding the government turn over President Trump’s tax returns has been assigned to a judge Mr. Trump appointed to the district court in Washington, D.C.

Judge Trevor N. McFadden will get first crack at the case, which could set the standard for how far Congress’s investigative powers extend, and whether the administration has the ability to resist some requests.

Democrats say the Treasury Department is defying a legal subpoena and a request under the tax law, which gives the Ways and Means Committee chairman the right to demand to see any tax return.

Administration lawyers argue that Congress can only investigate where it has a “legitimate” legislative purpose, and demanding the president’s private tax information doesn’t qualify, they argue.

One of Judge McFadden’s colleagues on the D.C. court, ruling in another case this year on other Trump financial documents, found that Congress has wide latitude to investigate and the president doesn’t get to tell another branch of government what is legitimate.

“To be sure, there are limits on Congress’s investigative authority. But those limits do not substantially constrain Congress,” wrote Judge Amit P. Mehta, an Obama appointee. “So long as Congress investigates on a subject matter on which ‘legislation could be had,’ Congress acts as contemplated by Article I of the Constitution.”

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