Trump Sues Cummings to Block Subpoena of Financial Records

April 22, 2019 by Dan McCue
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings speaks on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C. Cummings is the chairman of the House Oversigh and Reform Committee. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization on Monday sued the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to block a subpoena that seeks years of the president’s financial records.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,  claims Representative Elijah Cummings, D-Md., had “no legitimate legislative purpose” to issue the subpoena and accuses Democrats of using their new majority in the House to tarnish his presidency.

“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 lawsuit says.

In a statement, Jay Sekulow, an attorney representing the president, said, “We will not allow congressional presidential harassment to go unanswered.”

Cummings issued the subpoena earlier this month to Mazars USA, an accountant for the president and Trump Organization. He is attempting to obtain eight years of the president’s financial records.

The lawsuit 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 Trump’s financial statements contained inaccuracies.

“The Cohen hearing was a partisan stunt, not a good-faith effort to obtain accurate testimony from a reliable witness,” the lawsuit says.

Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress in 2017 about a real estate deal involving Trump in Moscow.

The complaint also says the subpoena seeks to investigate events that occurred before Trump was president and “has no legitimate legislative purpose.”

“There is no possible legislation at the end of the tunnel; indeed, the Chairman does not claim otherwise,” the complaint says. Instead, the Oversight Committee is “assuming the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals out of government.

“Its goal is to expose Plaintiff’s private financial information for the sake of exposure, with the hope that it will turn up something that Democrats can use as a political tool against the President now and in the 2020 election.”

In a statement, Cummings said “the president has a long history of trying to use baseless lawsuits to attack his adversaries, but there is simply no valid basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress.

“This complaint reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief, and it contains a litany of inaccurate information,” the representative continued. “The White House is engaged in unprecedented stonewalling on all fronts, and they have refused to produce a single document or witness to the Oversight Committee during this entire year.”

 

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