Opinion writer

* Democrats just won a big one in the oversight wars:

A federal judge on Monday denied President Trump’s bid to quash a House subpoena for years of his financial records from his accounting firm and stayed his order seven days to allow the president’s lawyers time to appeal.

The ruling handed an initial defeat to Trump’s vow to defy subpoenas by House Democrats and came in one of the first courtroom challenges to a series of lawmakers’ investigative demands for his bank records, accounting statements and tax returns.

U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of Washington, D.C., refused to block the records request to Mazars USA from the House Oversight and Reform Committee while litigation continues. Attorneys for Trump and associated businesses filed suit April 22, arguing Congress is not entitled to investigate his past personal financial dealings for potential corruption.

This is great to see. But one big outstanding question is how quickly the courts will rule on the inevitable appeals of this decision and on other oversight battles, which could have a big impact on how long Trump is permitted to corruptly choke off legitimate oversight and scrutiny. -- gs

* Rachana Pradhan and Alice Miranda Ollstein report on how Mike Pence has taken over the Department of Health and Human Services:

But behind the scenes, Pence has developed his own sphere of influence in an agency lower on Trump’s radar: Health and Human Services. It’s also the agency with the ability to fulfill the policy goal most closely associated with Pence over his nearly 20 year career in electoral politics: de-funding Planned Parenthood.

Numerous top leaders of the department — including Secretary Alex Azar, Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Medicaid/Medicare chief Seema Verma — have ties to Pence and Indiana. Other senior officials include Pence's former legislative director from his days as governor and former domestic policy adviser at the White House.

“He has clearly recruited people connected to him who share his very extreme views on sexual and reproductive health care," said Emily Stewart, the vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood. "This has been one of the most active administrations ever on rolling back reproductive rights and there’s no way that happens unless you have people in the White House driving the effort to put out policies at such a rapid clip.”

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also working to take health coverage away from as many people as possible.

* A great catch by Erik Wemple: When Pete Buttigieg criticized Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham for their hating on immigrants during his Fox town hall, Chris Wallace didn’t bother defending them.

* Susan Demas talks to Amy Klobuchar about why she thinks Democrats should go on Fox. That puts Klobuchar in the same camp as Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders.

* Ian Millhiser lays out the two options available to Democrats to save democracy if they take power in 2020.

* Rachael Dottle has a bunch of extremely cool maps showing how geographically polarized by race and voting preference American cities are.

* Chris Jenks offers a harrowing explanation of the damage it does to national security when the president pardons battlefield crimes.

* Alayna Treene and David Nather report that House Democrats are considering withholding funds from the executive branch if the administration doesn’t comply with their subpoenas.

* David Dayen reports on the secret legal society that could soon take away consumers’ rights.

* Nancy Scola profiles unlikely presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

* At the American Prospect, I argued that we’re in an abortion emergency and Democrats need to act like it.

* And Helaine Olen considers the appeal of Joe Biden’s nostalgia act.