After the House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena to Mazars USA, directing the firm to turn over Donald Trump’s financial records, the president and his lawyers didn’t just urge the firm to ignore the subpoena; they also sued the committee’s chairman in the hopes of blocking disclosure.
Late yesterday, the Trumps’ lawyers filed another lawsuit for the same reason: hiding the president’s finances.
President Donald Trump and several members of his family sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One on Monday seeking to prevent them from responding to congressional subpoenas for information about the president’s finances.
The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees have issued subpoenas to several banks as part of their investigations of alleged foreign influence on U.S. elections.
Deutsche Bank and Capital One are positioned to share all kinds of pertinent information. The former maintained a lengthy – and at times, odd – relationship with Trump, extending the Republican massive loans, even when other major financial institutions wouldn’t. In recent weeks, Deutsche Bank has reportedly taken steps to cooperate with the House Financial Services Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and the New York state attorney general’s office, which in turn has apparently caused the president, some of his adult children, and his business quite a bit of anxiety.
As for Capitol One, when the president paid Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney and fixer, Trump did so through his personal Capitol One checking account.
At face value, it’s extraordinary to see a sitting president’s lawyers try to invalidate congressional subpoenas – an effort that’s likely to fail, though the litigation process may take a considerable amount of time, which is very likely the point.
But as the process unfolds, it’s worth pausing to appreciate the fact that suits like these aren’t intended to protect some vague political principle. The truth is much simpler: the Trumps appear terrified of the prospect of investigators gaining access to their financial information.
And as a rule, when Trump World acts as if it has something to hide, it’s because Trump World has something to hide.
The new lawsuit insists the subpoenas “have no legitimate or lawful purpose.” That’s a tough argument to take seriously. For one thing, Michael Cohen recently gave sworn testimony that alerted lawmakers to a series of alleged financial misdeeds he claims Trump personally committed.
For another, as regular readers know, lawmakers are also aware of credible allegations of criminal fraud, criminal tax evasion, and money laundering, which the American president exploited to fuel his rise to power.
The only credible way to answer the lingering questions is to review the financial records that the Trumps seem eager to keep hidden.
“In the history of our country, there has never been a president that’s been more transparent than me or the Trump administration,” the president told reporters last week.
If Trump expects anyone to believe this, he probably ought to avoid filing lawsuits intended to keep his financial information secret.