May 14, 2019

President Trump's lawyer is seemingly questioning history to get his client off the hook.

In April, Democrats in the House Oversight committee subpoenaed several banks in an attempt to access Trump's financial records, prompting countersuits from Trump and his family. Trump's personal lawyer William Consovoy fought those subpoenas in court on Tuesday, yet "struggled to give a direct answer" when a judge asked if his argument against subpoena compliance fit two solidly established precedents, BuzzFeed News' Zoe Tillman reports.

On Tuesday, Consovoy said Congress was overstepping its authority by subpoenaing the president for "a law-enforcement purpose" rather than "to work on legislation," USA Today writes. That prompted U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta to ask Consovoy if his argument applied to former Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. After all, they both faced Congressional probes that "were inquiring as to violations of criminal law," Mehta said. Consovoy replied that he would "need to look more closely at those cases," which Mehta brushed off by saying they were "straightforward," BuzzFeed News continued.

Trump's lawsuits against Oversight Committee subpoenas are ongoing both in D.C. and New York City federal courts. Mehta said he would rule on the D.C. subpoenas after Tuesday's hearing, and given that he was appointed by former President Barack Obama and seemed skeptical of Consovoy, is expected to let them proceed. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 25, 2014

Freshman Florida Congressman Curt Clawson (R) is still finding his way around the U.S. Capitol after his victory in a special election last month — and he's also apparently still figuring out that public officials of Asian ethnicities are not necessarily foreigners.

Foreign Policy uncovered video from a subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — the Asia and Pacific subcommittee, on which Clawson sits — in which Clawson spoke to two high-ranking U.S. officials, Nisha Biswal of the State Department and Arun Kumar of the Commerce Department, as if they were Indian bureaucrats, and proceeded to lay out to them his own complaints against economic policies in India.

"I am familiar with your country; I love your country; and I understand the complications of so many languages, and so many cultures, and so many histories all rolled up in one," said Clawson. "So just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I'd like our capital to be welcome there... And I ask cooperation, and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?"

After an awkward pause, an obviously dumbfounded Biswal answered: "I think your question is to the Indian government. And we certainly share your sentiment, and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S. government."

"Of course," a smiling Clawson responded, in a manner so self-assured that it did not immediately appear that he even realized his mistake.

As Foreign Policy notes, Clawson also spoke during the hearing about his favorite Bollywood movies. Eric Kleefeld

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