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Ongoing House Investigations Of Trump Will Outlast Impeachment Trial

President Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
President Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

As the Senate weighs how to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump arising from his dealings with Ukraine, the verdict won’t bring to an end other congressional investigations of Trump, his administration or his companies — or the legal battles that they have spurred.

“That is everything from Oversight in terms of taxes, to Financial Services and Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley, referring to the two House committees she serves on.

“So yes, our work continues regarding the corruption and abuse of power of this administration,” Pressley said, referring to charges against the president outlined in the two impeachment articles the Senate is currently weighing.

Some of the White House's legal challenges to those investigations have already reached the Supreme Court. But the high court won’t likely rule on the matters until the end of June, just months before the November presidential election. For Democrats, that presents a risk the impact of those rulings gets lost in the political maelstrom.

“That a very real possibility,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch, who also serves on both the Oversight and Financial Services committees.

But he underscored that pursuing the investigations serve a lasting purpose.

“It’s a signal to the next president and future presidents that this type of activity will lead to your impeachment,” Lynch said. “We have the hope that the rule of law will prevail here.”

Lynch acknowledged that some may believe it better to let the voters decide Trump’s fate with their ballots rather than engage in prolonged investigations. But there is more at stake than who should be president in 2021, he said.

“In other words, another election won’t cure past misconduct, and if it is overlooked, it will only codify it,” Lynch said.

Here’s a look at some of those ongoing probes:

Testimony of former White House officials: The legal battle over the House Judiciary Committee’s efforts to compel former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to testify has had a ripple effect through not only the impeachment, but also the work of several other committees.

The ongoing litigation over whether former White House officials like McGahn are immune from such congressional inquiries — which is the position of the Trump administration’s Justice Department — is one reason House lawmakers opted not to subpoena key impeachment inquiry figures like former National Security Adviser John Bolton, choosing instead to bring an article of impeachment against Trump for obstruction of Congress for his efforts to block their testimony.

Trump’s tax returns: The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Springfield Democrat Rep. Richard Neal, is seeking Trump’s tax filings from the Treasury Department, a request the department has refused. Neal argues that federal law provides clear authority for the committee to demand such records, but the agency counters that there is no underlying legislative purpose for the request, as the law requires. The matter remains tied up in the courts.

Probes of Trump’s taxes and other financial documents: The legal battle over separate investigations of Trump’s tax documents and his financial dealings with institutions including Deutsche Bank and Capitol One has landed at the Supreme Court.

The House Oversight Committee subpoenaed documents from Trump’s accounting firm while the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees sent subpoenas to Trump’s lenders, Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Those cases, as well as one involving subpoenas from the Manhattan district attorney in a criminal case, will be heard by the Supreme Court in the spring. A ruling is expected by the end of June.

Related:

Kimberly Atkins Twitter Senior News Correspondent
Kimberly Atkins is a senior news correspondent for WBUR, covering national political news from Washington, D.C., with a New England focus.

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