Trump’s across-the-board legal stonewalling appears poised to backfire big time
But Mehta’s posture in court Tuesday, along with his swift declaration last week that the case had been “fully briefed” and would proceed promptly, represents a major challenge to Team Trump’s legal strategy in a host of upcoming battles. Lawyers across the political spectrum have pretty much accepted that Trump’s legal arguments for uniformly blocking congressional subpoenas are extraordinarily weak. But the point was never to win on the merits; it was to stall investigative efforts by congressional Democrats until the clock ran out on them in 2020.
But if Tuesday’s first fight over Trump’s financial records turns out to represent a trend in how judges approach these cases, Trump’s attorneys will likely be facing an expedited schedule of hearings in which they are armed with exceedingly weak legal rationales. And Democrats don’t have to win every subpoena battle being mounted; they only have to win most of them in order to gain access to critical information.
Indeed, many pressing issues regarding presidential matters have been adjudicated quickly by the courts. The constitutional fight between George W. Bush and Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election wrapped up in just over a month—36 days—and that included two trips to the Supreme Court.
Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks has also noted how quickly the courts handled two crucial matters related to the investigation into Richard Nixon. Getting the underlying evidence prosecutors uncovered released to Congress took a total of 25 days. Additionally, obtaining Nixon’s tapes, the ultimate downfall of his presidency, through the courts took just over three months. “We subpoenaed tapes for trial on April 16, got rulings from trial court, Appeals Court and [the] Supreme Court ruled for us on July 24,” Wine-Banks wrote in a post. “Just over 2 weeks later, on Aug 9, Nixon resigned.”