Trump’s Lawyer William Consovoy—“Congress Has No Power to Investigate Trump or Even Nixon’s Watergate Corrupt Behavior’’ May 19, 2019
Inept and blatant shill Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has become a repeated punchline for late night comedians. Rudy’s latest failed stunt, thwarted by the outrage of Democrats in Congress and media ridicule, was his attempt to go to Ukraine and meet with government officials there to determine if Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden and/or his son Hunter were involved in unethical behavior. Translation: Getting a foreign country to, once again, dig up imagined dirt on the opposition and meddle in our 2020 presidential election, because such tactics worked well for Donald against Hillary in 2016. Giuliani may be a laughing matter. However, Rudy’s attitude that Demagogue Donald is above the law and not answerable to Congress or the American people for anything is no joke. These core attitudes are held by all of Trump’s lawyers, many of them more seasoned litigators than Rudy.
On 5/14/2019, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, lawyers for Donald and the House of Representatives clashed over the extent of Congress’ power to investigate Trump. This litigation is the first legal test of Trump’s effort to block half a dozen House committee probes of his finances and private businesses. Donald wants Federal District Judge Amit P. Mehta to revoke a subpoena by the Democratic-controlled House Oversight and Reform Committee. This subpoena has been issued to obtain financial records from Trump’s longtime accountant, Mazars USA. This subpoena was issued because Trump and his aides have systematically blocked congressional oversight of their activities, and have refused to provide witnesses and evidence (usatoday.com, Jansen, 5/14/19, Willis, 5/14/19, shareblue.com, dcd.uscourts.gov). Donald’s lawyers accused the House Oversight Committee of abusing their power and said there was no legislative purpose for the request. District Judge Mehta suggested that history might not be on the chief executive’s side. Mehta stated courts had not found that Congress had overstepped its subpoena authority since 1880. Judge Mehta also questioned Trump’s lawyers about the basis for previously investigating presidents (usatoday.com, Jansen, 5/14/19).
William Consovoy, Trump’s, personal lawyer, repeatedly argued before Judge Mehta that Congress was seeking the president’s financial information for what is essentially a “law-enforcement purpose,” which was outside Congress’ authority, rather than working on legislation. Congress’ subpoena sought Trump’s financial records to look for inconsistencies in his financial forms, and whether he misstated his holdings on loans that could leave him beholden to foreigners (usatoday.com, Jansen, 5/14/19). Consovoy stated, “That (the subpoena) was law enforcement. Are you complying with federal law (usatoday.com)?”
District Judge Mehta asked Consovoy whether Congress could investigate if the president was engaged in corrupt behavior in office. Consovoy replied, “I don’t think that’s the proper subject of investigation as to the president.” USA Today reported, “Mehta sounded incredulous” to this specific response by Consovoy (Jansen, 5/14/19). Judge Mehta went on to ask Consovoy if Congress could have investigated Watergate, which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and Whitewater, which led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Consovoy initially said he’d have “to look at the basis for those investigations.” Mehta stated, “They (Congress) were inquiring as to violations of criminal law. It’s pretty straightforward—among other things.” Consovoy answered Watergate and Whitewater were “still law enforcement.” He asserted that “while criminal investigative agencies had a role to play, Congress should not have been able to proceed with their probes (See usatoday.com, Jansen, 5/14/19, shareblue.com, Willis, 5/14/19).” Get it? Since George Washington’s time, Congress has had the constitutional role to engage in oversight of the executive branch of government. Trump, his attorneys, and all his Tea Party GOP congressional lackeys could care less. They feel absolutely free to ignore constitutional law or precedent when it goes against them. “Strict constitutional constructionists?” No way, just believers in one thing only, saving Donald. No matter what Trump has criminally done, no matter what corruption he has been engaged in, he is above the law, must escape its consequences, and must be given a free pass. Who is this William Consovoy?
We should not at all be surprised that Consovoy is Trump’s personal attorney and pleading his case in court. Like Attorney General William Barr, Consovoy has become part of Trump’s inner legal circle because he has proven his 10,000% loyalty to the Demagogue/ Conman-in-Chief with a “sterling” far right legal resume. William S. Consovoy received his undergraduate degree from Monmouth University and his law degree from George Mason University Law School. Consovoy was a former law clerk to Judge Edith Jones who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (fedsoc.org). President Reagan nominated her and she has been on that bench since 1985. Jones was considered by both H.W. and W Bush for a Supreme Court appointment. Jones has questioned the legal reasoning which legalized abortion. She invalidated a federal ban on possession of machine guns and pushed for toughening bankruptcy laws (fjc.gov, nytimes.com, Apple Jr., R.W., 7/25/90, harvardlawreview.org). Consovoy also clerked for U.S. Supreme Ct. Justice Clarence Thomas, often considered to the right of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Thomas, unlike other conservative Supreme Court Justices, only hires law clerks who share his hard rock right-wing philosophy (Peppers, “Courtiers Of The Marble Palace”). Controversial FOX News host Laura Ingraham was also a Thomas law clerk (Peppers).
Consovoy is a partner at the small but high-powered law firm Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC. That firm has represented Trump and his family since 3/2018 on many controversial legal matters. Consovoy’s partner Michael Park clerked for conservative Supreme Ct. Justice Alito. Park, a strong conservative, was nominated by Trump and was confirmed by the GOP Senate on 5/09/2019 to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Patrick Strawbridge, who opened a Boston office for that firm, like Consovoy, clerked for Justice Thomas (Lat, abovethelaw.com, 5/28/15, Hamilton, law.com, 5/09/19). Consovoy specializes in constitutional law and federal practice. He previously argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Spokeo v. Robins, a case involving issues of privacy rights in the digital age and Evenwel v. Abbott, a case involving drawing legislative districts. In the Evenwel case, Consovoy unsuccessfully argued for Evenwel that just the total voting eligible population should be used to draw legislative districts, not the total population. Had Consovoy won that 2016 decision, power would have shifted markedly from urban to rural voters and to white and GOP voters over minority and Democratic ones (See slate.com, Lithwick, 12/08/15, supremecourt.gov).
In a landmark voting rights case, Shelby v. Holder, Consovoy was a member of the legal team that successfully challenged the constitutionality of several sections of the Voting Rights Act. In that case, the conservative-dominated Supreme Ct. ruled 5-4 in 2013 that Section 4(b) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. Section 4(b) stated that certain jurisdictions with a history of discrimination against voters must first get federal pre-clearance under Section 5 before changing their voting laws and practices. The High Court called Section 4(b)’s formula for determining discriminatory jurisdictions unconstitutional because it was based on data over 40 years old and not responsive to current needs. Congress would have to enact a new voting coverage formula to keep states from being unduly burdened. Congress has not done that. Since the Shelby holding, many states have enacted new laws reducing voter locations, cutting down on early voting, and closing many polling places. These polling places have been cut in mainly black areas. All the newly passed post-Shelby voter restrictions have been done by GOPers, aiding their turn out (See US Commission On Civil Rights 2018, Prengel, heavy.com/news, 4/05/19). Many of those new voter restriction laws were in effect during the 2016 election, helping Trump and his “Team Red” legislators.
In addition to Consovoy’s litigation for GOP causes, he teaches classes at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he is co-director of the Administrative Law Clinic and the Supreme Court Clinic. Consovoy is a speaker at the Federalist Law Society (heavy.com, Prengel, 4/05/19). The Federalist Society, founded in 1982, is an organization of conservatives and libertarians who aim to have U.S. law interpreted according to the textual or original intent of the Constitution’s framers. Translation: interpreting the law without making adjustments to the views of the 21st Century. The Federalist Society is one of the nation’s most influential legal organizations (Fletcher, 7/29/05, washingtopost.com, Farrell, 5/17/17, washingtonpost.com). Under Reagan, W Bush, and now Trump, membership in the Federalist Society was a major key to getting federal jobs and judgeships. The Federalist Society vetted Donald’s Supreme Ct. nominees and as of 1/2019, 25 out of 30 of Trump’s appellate court nominees were current or former members of this society (Montgomery, 1/02/19). Consovoy has also been named as one of the nation’s leading appellate lawyers (Prengel, heavy.com, 4/05/19).
Whichever way District Judge Mehta rules, expect the U.S. Supreme Court to eventually get involved. Consovoy will, no doubt, continue to play a major role in this ongoing litigation against the House of Representatives. He will make the most blatant arguments he can to shield Demagogue Donald’s wrongdoings from disclosure. Again, in order to stop Donald’s misdeeds and his right-wing packing of the courts, Trump and his congressional enablers must be defeated in 2020 by Democrats voting in droves. The Supreme Court, lower district and circuit appellate courts, and Justice Department appointees are also at stake in Campaign 2020.