President Donald Trump’s legal team has sued House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to block a subpoena for financial records from an accounting firm used by the Trump Organization.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, President Trump’s attorneys write the subpoena “lacks any legitimate legislative purpose, is an abuse of power, and is just another example of overreach by the president’s political opponents.”
The lawsuit further accuses Cummings of failing to consult with Republicans on the panel before issuing the subpoena and says he relied on the testimony of Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who told lawmakers in February that some of President Trump’s financial statements contained inaccuracies. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress in 2017 about a real estate deal involving the president in Moscow.
Cummings issued the subpoena earlier this month to Mazars USA, an accountant for the president and his real estate firm. The top House Democrat sent a letter to Mazars CEO Victor Wahba demanding records as part of the panel’s probe in whether the president misrepresented the value of certain assets.
“Mr. Cohen produced to the Committee financial statements from 2011, 2012, and 2013 that raise questions about the President’s representations of his financial affairs on these forms and on other disclosures, particularly relating to the President’s debts,” wrote Cummings. “Several of these documents appear to have been signed by your firm.” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the committee’s ranking member, described the document request as “unprecedented abuse.”
“The Cohen hearing was a partisan stunt, not a good-faith effort to obtain accurate testimony from a reliable witness,” the lawsuit continued. “Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump’s personal finances, businesses, and even his family.”
In a statement to NBC News, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said of the lawsuit: “We will not allow congressional presidential harassment to go unanswered.”
The lawsuit comes after the House Judiciary Committee launched a sweeping investigation into President Trump, his White House, his campaign and his businesses, sending document requests to 81 people linked to the president and his associates. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has said the investigation will be focused on possible obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuse of power.
The list of 81 names touches on all parts of President Trump’s life — his businesses, his campaign, the committee that oversaw the transition from campaign to the White House and the White House. There are also people connected to Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, including participants in a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer before the election.
In a letter to the White House, the committee asked for information surrounding former FBI Director James Comey’s termination, communications with Justice Department officials, the Trump Tower meeting and multiple other matters. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the White House had received the letter and that “the counsel’s office and relevant White House officials will review it and respond at the appropriate time.”
The list includes two of the president’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and many of his current and former close advisers, including Steve Bannon. It also includes his embattled charitable foundation, which he is shutting down after agreeing to a court-supervised process, and officials at the FBI and Justice Department.
The AP and AFP contributed to this report.
Author: Joshua Caplan