Trump Sues Banks to Block Compliance With Congressional Subpoenas

April 30, 2019 Updated: April 30, 2019

President Donald Trump and three of his children have sued two banks, saying the banks should not give Congress financial information it is seeking regarding Trump and his businesses.

Democrats in Congress have tried pivoting to investigating Trump’s businesses after Special Counsel Robert Mueller could not establish collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia.

Mueller also said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to establish obstruction of his two-year probe.

In the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on April 30, attorneys representing the Trump family wrote that subpoenas issued by Congress “have no legitimate or lawful purpose.”

A woman with an umbrella passes a logo of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt
A woman with an umbrella passes a logo of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, on Jan. 29, 2013. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

“The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the president and his family, and to ferret about for any material that might be used to cause him political damage,” the lawyers added.

“No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”

With the subpoenas, Congress is attempting to assume the powers of the Department of Justice, the lawyers said. The demands of the two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capitol One, include financial records dating back 10 years, the lawyers wrote, adding, “The intrusiveness and impropriety of these requests are obvious.”

Further, the subpoenas violate the requirements of the Right to Financial Privacy Act, the lawyers said, making any production of account records by either bank a violation of the law.

Rep. Adam Schiff talks on his phone
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) talks on his phone while he is riding the House subway in Washington on Jan. 28, 2015. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and three of his children have sued two banks, saying the banks should not give Congress financial information it is seeking regarding Trump and his businesses.

Trump’s representatives asked the court to declare the subpoenas invalid and enable the banks to ignore them.

Along with Trump, the plaintiffs included Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, three of the president’s children, and the Trump Organization.

In a joint statement reacting to the lawsuit, House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called the suit “meritless” and “another demonstration of the depths to which President Trump will go to obstruct Congress’s constitutional oversight authority.”

The new lawsuit came about a week after President Trump filed a lawsuit seeking to block another subpoena, this one issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) subpoenaed Mazars USA, an accounting firm that worked for Trump. Cummings wanted financial statements from 2011 through 2018 related to Trump, his real estate company, and his foundation.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings is seen in the office
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 27, 2017. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Cummings cited testimony by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who was convicted of lying to federal authorities. Cohen claimed in February that Trump inflated or deflated the value of his assets, depending on what would benefit him at the time.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Cummings and his committee sought documents from Mazars on a voluntary basis, but was told by an attorney for the company in March that it couldn’t turn over any documents without a subpoena.

In the suit, Trump’s attorneys wrote: “The Democrat Party, with its newfound control of the U.S. House of Representatives, has declared all-out political war against President Donald J. Trump. Subpoenas are their weapon of choice.”

“Instead of working with the President to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically,” the suit added.

Citing Cummings saying he could investigate “any matter at any time,” Trump’s representatives said that the chairman is overstepping the constitutional limits on Congress’s power to investigate, and that the subpoena of Mazars “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” and would expose confidential information.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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