WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump sued on Monday to block a subpoena issued by the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee that sought information about his personal and business finances.
U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as they travel to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago
The suit, the first salvo in what promises to be an escalating legal battle over efforts to investigate Trump by the Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress, alleged Democrats have launched “all-out political war” on Trump and subpoenas “are their weapon of choice.”
The committee’s subpoena had sought eight years of documents from Mazars USA, an accounting firm long used by Trump to prepare financial statements, related to its investigation of allegations Trump inflated or deflated financial statements for potentially improper purposes.
Elijah Cummings, the House Oversight Committee chairman, issued the subpoena to the president’s accountant after Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified to Congress in February that Trump had misrepresented his net worth.
“Chairman Cummings’ subpoena is invalid and unenforceable because it has no legitimate legislative purpose,” Trump’s lawyers said in a filing.
“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,” they said.
The filing is the first effort by Trump’s legal team to quash multiple investigations by Democratic-led committees in Congress of Trump and his finances. His lawyers made it clear they would resist those efforts.
“Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump’s personal finances, businesses, and even his family,” Trump’s lawyers said.
“Instead of working with the President to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically,” they said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the U.S. House Oversight Committee did not immediately have a response.
The filing said Democrats have issued more than 100 subpoenas and requests “to anyone with even the most tangential connection to the President.”
Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Alexandra Alper and Ginger Gibson; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Meredith Mazzilli