President Donald Trump and his businesses filed a lawsuit against House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings in a bid to block a subpoena seeking his financial records, The Associated Press reports.
The lawsuit comes in response to a subpoena Cummings issued to Trump’s tax firm Mazars USA seeking years of the president’s financial records.
The lawsuit alleges that the subpoena has “has no legitimate legislative purpose” and accuses Democrats of trying to use their power in the House to harass Trump.
“Instead of working with the President to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically,” the lawsuit says. “Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump’s personal finances, businesses, and even his family.”
The lawsuit accuses Cummings of not consulting with Republicans on the committee before the subpoena was issued. The lawsuit says Cummings relied on the testimony of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who the suit notes pleaded guilty to lying to Congress -- which he did on behalf of Trump.
“The Cohen hearing was a partisan stunt, not a good-faith effort to obtain accurate testimony from a reliable witness,” the lawsuit says.
Cummings calls lawsuit “baseless”:
Cummings told the AP that Trump’s lawsuit “reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief, and it contains a litany of inaccurate information.”
“The President has a long history of trying to use baseless lawsuits to attack his adversaries, but there is simply no valid legal basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress,” Cummings said. “The White House is engaged in unprecedented stonewalling on all fronts, and they have refused to produce a single document or witness to the Oversight Committee during this entire year.”
Trump trying to block multiple probes:
Along with trying to stop Democrats from obtaining records from his tax firm, the Trump administration is also trying to figure out a way to avoid handing over his tax returns to the House. The Treasury Department missed a deadline to hand over Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, which has the legal authority to obtain any tax return from the IRS. The Treasury appears intent on missing a second deadline to produce the tax returns on Tuesday.
The White House also instructed former White House official Carl Kline from complying with a subpoena to appear in front of the Oversight Committee for an interview, CNN reported.
Kline was accused by a whistleblower of overturning the decisions of career officials to grant dozens of Trump aides security clearances despite warnings and red flags, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.