On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to talk about the Mueller report.
This is a fair request. We’ve heard and are going to hear a lot of griping from Democrats about how Barr’s summary of the report was biased and left out pertinent details. We’re going to hear a lot more Democrat claims about how Mueller’s report is clear grounds for an obstruction of justice charge and that the Department of Justice brushed it aside, etc., etc.
This is fine — understandable, even. It’s not going to change anything. Donald Trump will sleep soundly without even a Nytol to send him off to slumberland. No matter what Jerrold Nadler says, nobody’s going to be any closer to impeachment any time soon.
Barr’s appearance isn’t going to bring the exorcized specter of Russian collusion back somehow. It’s not going to transform the Mueller report into the smoking gun that eventually ousts Trump from the White House.
But, again, it’s not exactly supererogatory to ask the attorney general to appear before the Judiciary Committee. It’s appropriate.
At some point, however, the Democrats do have to give up the ghost. I don’t know where this point is, but it’s clearly before a lawsuit that includes, in part, the financial records of Donald Trump’s grandchildren.
You may have heard that the Trump administration is suing both Capital One and Deutsche Bank to fight a subpoena issued by Democrats on the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees for the president’s financial records.
What you might not realize is that this also involves “documents about accounts of the plaintiffs’ children (and in some cases, grandchildren),” according to Trump’s lawyers.
“The committees, the Trumps’ lawyers said, have refused to provide copies of the subpoenas to the Trump family, and their scope was learned from Deustche Bank and Capital One,” Politico reported Monday. “But according to the lawsuit, the committees are seeking ‘all banking and financial records not just concerning the individual plaintiffs, but also their own family members.'”
Trump’s lawsuit makes no bones about where the president’s team stands.
“The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family, and to ferret about for any material that might be used to cause him political damage,” the lawsuit states, according to Politico.
“No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”
Without the lawsuit, both banks seemed to indicate they were willing to turn over the documents, or felt compelled to.
“Every citizen should be concerned about this sweeping, lawless, invasion of privacy,” the president’s lawyers said in a statement, arguing that the subpoenas violated the Right to Financial Privacy Act, according to Politico.
“We look forward to vindicating our clients’ rights in this matter.”
There are several interesting things going on here, the most pathetic of which involves the possibility that even Trump’s grandchildren could be affected by this lawsuit.
However, even beyond that, the most salient question is this:
Is this an investigation of a potential crime or an investigation of a person? It certainly seems like the latter, given that some of the requests for documents are “unbounded,” according to Politico. This means, essentially, they can go back as far as Democrats’ want. Other requests quite charitably only seek 10 years of documents.
“The House of Representatives is demanding, among other things, records of every single checking withdrawal, credit-card swipe, or debit-card purchase — no matter how trivial or small — made by each and every member of the Trump family,” Trump’s lawyers stated, according to Politico.
The important part here is this: If these subpoenas are so vague, what are they looking for? Evidence of a specific crime? Or evidence of anything that looks bad for the Trumps or their associates that can be dragged before Congress? With something so over-broad, we then turn to the most likely answer to this question:
The House just wants to investigate Donald Trump, evidence of untoward activity or not.
If you have any familiarity with these two, you can perhaps see how this subpoena could be construed as absolutely baseless. For their part, according to Politico, Schiff and Waters said that Trump’s “meritless lawsuit” was “only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible.”
Coming from them, that’s almost a compliment.
Yes, Deutsche Bank has been a major money lender to the Trump Organization in the past, which means — well, what?
Capital One, meanwhile, provides the Trumps with “personal, family and business accounts.” Unless this information sheds light on something specific, what we’re dealing with is just a fishing expedition.
But that’s the thing — the last fishing expedition closed up and didn’t find any collusion with Russians or anything that’ll likely result in Trump’s impeachment. We’ll see Attorney General Barr before Congress, and perhaps Bob Mueller after that.
Those are perfectly reasonable. And then the silliness starts.
These were all committee chairs who were warmed up to hold hearings on Kremlin conspiracies. Now they’re going to hold hearings that might involve the bank accounts of Trump’s grandchildren.
You would think that very sentence would tip someone off to the absurdity of this whole thing. But hold these hearings they will, because apparently shame is in ridiculously short supply in the House Democratic Caucus.
If you think you aren’t going to see more meritless subpoenas like this in the run-up to 2020, you’re wrong.
There are going to be plenty.
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