In an attempt to block banks from handing over financial records to Congress, the Trump family is suing the financial outfits.
In a second lawsuit responding to a U.S. House investigation, President Donald Trump and three of his children have sued a pair of banks to prevent them from providing Trump family financial records to Congress pursuant to subpoenas.
While Democrats cast the lawsuit as another effort to thwart investigations of Trump’s activities, the president’s private attorneys said they are seeking to protect the “privacy rights” of the president and his family.
Democratic subpoenas “seek information going back decades from anyone with even a tangential connection to the President, including children, minors and spouses,” said the statement from Trump attorneys Will Consovoy, Patrick Strawbridge and Marc L. Mukasey.
Trump and three children – Ivanka, Eric and Donald, Jr. – are suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One. In the lawsuit filed late Monday in New York City, Trump asked the court to declare the subpoenas invalid and prevent the banks from complying with the congressional orders.
The complaint is the latest in a series of disputes between the White House and congressional Democrats over investigations targeting the president. Trump filed a federal lawsuit last week to block the Democratic-controlled House from obtaining financial records from his business’ longtime accountant.
‘All the subpoenas’: Congress and Trump prepare to battle over wide-ranging probes
“The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, 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,” the lawsuit states.
The chairs of the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees, Reps. Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff, respectively, said in a joint statement that the lawsuit was “meritless.”
“This lawsuit is not designed to succeed; it is only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible,” they said.
At least six congressional committees are investigating Trump’s personal finances, his inauguration committee, his business practices before he took office and his conduct since assuming the presidency for evidence of corruption or abuse.
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Trump has told reporters he will resist every subpoena. He has refused to provide his tax returns, breaking from more than 40 years of tradition by presidents and nominees.
“We’re fighting all the subpoenas. These aren’t like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020,” Trump said last week. “The only way they can luck out is by constantly going after me on nonsense.”
House Democrats are particularly interested in Deutsche Bank, a longtime lender to Trump and his company even after a series of defaults and bankruptcies by the real estate mogul.
Congress is seeking a long list of records related to the bank’s support of Trump and his family, loans that some critics believe may have been used to launder money from Russia and Eastern Europe.
Deustche Bank has said it plans to comply with the subpoenas.
Trump’s lawyer described the subpoenas as “unlawful and illegitimate,” and “every citizen should be concerned about this sweeping, lawless, invasion of privacy. We look forward to vindicating our clients’ rights in this matter.”
Democratic lawmakers are also seeking documents from Mazars USA, the president’s longtime accounting firm. Last week, Trump filed a lawsuit to prevent Mazars from providing records subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Legal analysts noted that during his business career, Trump often filed lawsuits as a way to drag out disputes, seeking to exhaust his opponents.
Stephen I. Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said the lawsuit against the banks is “such a long shot on the merits” that it’s hard to imagine Trump’s lawyers think they can win.
“It may be that the purpose is to try to delay these third parties from complying with the subpoenas, perhaps until after the 2020 elections,” he said.
Vladeck added, however, that such a long delay “seems unlikely.”
Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY
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