President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization filed suit against House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings to block Cummings’ subpoena of Trump’s financial records. Trump filed the lawsuit this morning in D.C. District Court after Cummings authorized subpoenas for several Trump entities, particularly Mazars USA LLP, the president’s longtime accountant.
The complaint reads:
“Chairman Cummings has ignored the constitutional limits on Congress’ power to investigate. Article I of the Constitution does not contain an ‘Investigations Clause’ or an ‘Oversight Clause.’ It gives Congress the power to enact certain legislation. Accordingly, investigations are legitimate only insofar as they further some legitimate legislative purpose.”
The complaint claims that “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,” adding that:
“Last week, Defendant Elijah E. Cummings invoked his authority as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee to subpoena Mazars USA LLP—the longtime accountant for President Trump and several Trump entities (all Plaintiffs here). Chairman Cummings asked Mazars for financial statements, supporting documents, and communications about Plaintiffs over an eight-year period—mostly predating the President’s time in office.
Chairman Cummings requested this information because Michael Cohen—a felon who has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress—told the House Oversight Committee that the President had misrepresented his net worth while he was a private citizen. The Committee, according to Chairman Cummings, now needs to “investigate whether the President may have engaged in illegal conduct.” The Chairman claims he can do so because the Oversight Committee can supposedly investigate “any matter at any time.”
Trump is being represented by William Consovoy, who is also defending him in the fight over his tax returns. Stefan Passantino is representing Trump entities. The two attorneys released a joint statement that reads as follows:
“We welcome the opportunity to represent President Trump and the other plaintiffs in this matter. The committee’s attempt to obtain years’ worth of confidential information from their accountants lacks any legitimate legislative purposes, is an abuse of power, and is just another example of overreach by the president’s political opponents. We look forward to vindicating our clients’ rights in this matter.”
Trump’s latest pushback has left his critics wondering what he could be hiding––and have renewed the call for him to release his tax returns.
Trump WH constantly touts how many records were turned over to prove no collision. Why does the president fight so hard to keep anyone from seeing his tax returns, business records, bank loans? https://t.co/KLYIv2VeUd
— Greg Miller (@gregpmiller) April 22, 2019
Today would be a good day for @realDonaldTrump to release his tax returns.
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) April 22, 2019
Trump: "I've got nothin' to hide."
Trump's Attorneys: "Except his financials and his tax returns and his payments to porn stars and his contacts with Russians and his …"https://t.co/PwhabitHfo
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) April 22, 2019
Those who think relying on oversight is satisfactory should reconsider. trump is stonewalling every House request & subpoena. Now he’s suing Elijah Cummings.
The choice between an ugly impeachment vs calm oversight is a false one. It’ll be ugly no matter. https://t.co/ZaXkZojvRS
— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) April 22, 2019
Trump sues @RepCummings to stop him from getting access to his accounting records through the subpoena.
The president. Sues a member of Congress. To keep his finances hidden.
Oh, yah. Trump has nothing to hide. Not a thing.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) April 22, 2019
The president’s suit claims:
With this subpoena, the Oversight Committee is instead assuming the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals outside of government. Its goal is to expose Plaintiffs’ 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.
Cummings has not responded to requests for comment, but the lawsuit has been criticized by Harvard Law professor and constitutional expert Laurence Tribe, who called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said a judge should throw it out.
This is a frivolous lawsuit. It should be tossed out quickly. The lawyers who agreed to file it for Trump and his business should take a refresher course in the powers of Congress and the ethical duties of attorneys as officers of the court.https://t.co/XoejCCaWgZ
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) April 22, 2019