President Donald Trump and the Trump Corporation filed suit Monday against House Democrats, led by House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), to prevent the committee from issuing subpoenas seeking the President’s financial records, both from his companies, and from an accounting firm hired to handle Trump finances.
NBC News reports the filings accuse Democrats of having “declared all-out political war” on the President, and that Democrats’ subpoenas are less a legal device and more a “weapon of choice” for members of the House Oversight Committee and the House Ethics Committee.
Democrats pledged, immediately upon taking over the House in January, that they would begin a number of investigations into the President, including probes into the Trump campaign, whether Trump’s continued — yet hands off — ownership of the Trump Corporation violated government financial regulations, and whether Trump is profiting off his position in violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
After the Mueller report was released last week, showing no signs of collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russian officials looking to sway the results of the 2016 presidential election, Democrats have also pledged to investigate the investigators. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and others, have said they will call Special Counsel Robert Mueller and members of his team to testify in front of various House committees, to explain how they found no evidence of collusion despite a nearly two year-long investigation.
Last week, Cummings issued several subpoenas to various arms of the Trump organization, including a company called Mazars, which NBC News describes as “an accounting firm that Trump had used to prepare several years of financial statements.”
“The subpoena requested a slew of financial documents and related materials from Trump, his trust, the Trump Organization, the Trump Corporation, Trump’s holdings company, the Trump Foundation and the Trump International Hotel in Washington,” the outlet says.
Mazars informed Cummings that they would not give over the documents willingly, and that a subpoena would probably be required to obtain all the information Cummings and his committee want.
Democrats say the information is vitally necessary to piecing together how Trump plans to make money from his various enterprises while he’s in office, and in a statement, Cummings claimed that their subpoenas are legitimate, and that the White House is merely “stonewalling on all fronts” having “refused to produce a single document or witness to the Oversight Committee during this entire year.”
Trump and his lawyers see it differently, calling the flurry of subpoenas, “presidential harassment,” and a useless effort to “obtain years’ worth of confidential information from their accountants.” The Democrats plan, Trump’s lawyers added, “lacks any legitimate legislative purpose, is an abuse of power, and is just another example of overreach by the president’s political opponents.”
Axios also reports that Trump’s lawyers referenced the Mueller report and the Mueller investigation specifically, claiming that House Democrats are looking to “[assume] the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals outside of government.”
This is likely the first of dozens of legal battles between Trump, his companies, and House Democrats. So far, the Dems have at least 85 separate investigation targets listed on their agenda, and that doesn’t count their adjacent investigations into various Trump Administration endeavors or “potential Trump investigations” that might result from future appointments and policy decisions.