President Donald Trump and his family, as well as the Trump Organization, filed suit against one of their lenders and one of their banks late Monday, seeking to stop them from complying with subpoenas from congressional committees.
The lawsuit against Deutsche Bank, which has loaned Trump more than $360 million in recent years, and Capital One are designed to prevent the two institutions from providing records to the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees. The panels are led by Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., respectively.
The filing, made late Monday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, says the subpoenas were filed to “harass” the president – “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.”
“No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one,” the lawsuit asserts.
In a joint statement, Trump lawyers William Consovoy, Patrick Strawbridge and Marc Mukasey called the subpoenas “unlawful and illegitimate.”
“Every citizen should be concerned about this sweeping, lawless, invasion of privacy,” they said. “We look forward to vindicating our clients’ rights in this matter.”
Schiff and Waters condemned the lawsuit in a joint statement, calling it a legal ploy to “put off meaningful accountability as long as possible.”
“The meritless lawsuit filed today by President Trump to block duly authorized subpoenas to nongovernmental entities is another demonstration of the depths to which President Trump will go to obstruct Congress’s constitutional oversight authority,” the Democrats said. “As a private businessman, Trump routinely used his well-known litigiousness and the threat of lawsuits to intimidate others, but he will find that Congress will not be deterred from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities.”
They added: “This unprecedented stonewalling will not work, and the American people deserve better.”
The suit appeared to be similar to one Trump filed earlier this month against his accountants, Mazars USA, to stop them from complying with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee. In that case, the committee was seeking documents related to “Statements of Financial Condition” that the firm prepared for Trump to convince lenders he was wealthy enough to be a good credit risk.
The congressional committees have also demanded documents from a handful of other financial institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. The requests are part of Democratic probes into possible Russian money-laundering.
Legal experts have said that Trump’s arguments rely on outdated precedents and that courts may be unwilling to stand in the way of congressional oversight. But, if nothing else, they could delay the committees’ investigations into Trump’s finances and business dealings.
In a statement, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman said, “We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations.”
Capital One didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Isaac Stanley-Becker, David A. Fahrenthold