Trump urges judge not to fast-track his lawsuit over House subpoena




 

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday objected to a judge's plan to fast-track his lawsuit seeking to block a congressional subpoena for information about eight years of his personal and business finances.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington proposed holding a trial on Tuesday, May 14, but Trump's lawyers said that plan would deny the president a "full and fair" hearing.

Trump's lawyers said the hearing should only deal with his request for a preliminary ruling.

Mehta will decide whether Mazars LLP, Trump's long-time accounting firm, must comply with a subpoena issued by the House Oversight Committee seeking financial records for Trump and his company.

The committee says it needs Trump's records to examine whether he has conflicts of interest or broke the law by not disentangling himself from his business holdings as previous presidents did.

Lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization, his company, last month filed a lawsuit to block the House Oversight subpoena, saying it exceeded the constitutional limits of Congress's investigative power.

Trump argued that, rather than fulfilling its constitutional lawmaking duties, Congress was on a quest to "turn up something that Democrats can use as a political tool against the president now and in the 2020 election."

In Monday's court filing, Trump's lawyers said they need more time to collect evidence and develop their cases, and that his right to due process would be undermined by the judge's accelerated timetable.

Democrats have confronted the Republican president and his administration for refusing to cooperate with at least six separate congressional investigations of Trump, his turbulent presidency, his family and his business interests.

Lisa Kern Griffin, a professor of constitutional law at Duke University, said Trump's strategy has been to stall the probes, so Mehta's eagerness to move quickly would likely be welcomed by Democratic lawmakers.

"The executive branch strategy mostly seems to be a blanket rejection of all attempts at oversight, regardless of the issue, up until the election," Griffin said. "So any time the calendar is accelerated that probably favors Congress."

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Dan Grebler and Meredith Mazzilli)

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