The ongoing fight for Trump’s tax returns. Here’s where we are now:
President Donald Trump’s attorneys are warning of potential legal action if an accounting firm turns over a decade of the president’s financial records to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Trump attorneys William S. Consovoy and Stefan Passantino are urging Mazars USA not to comply with a subpoena that Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) issued on Monday for Trump’s financial documents, calling it a politically motivated scheme to take down the president.
“It is no secret that the Democrat Party has decided to use its new House majority to launch a flood of investigations into the president’s personal affairs in hopes of using anything they can find to damage him politically,” Consovoy and Passantino wrote to Jerry D. Bernstein, Mazars’ outside counsel, before the subpoena was officially served.
The attorneys said they were formally putting Mazars ”on notice” — an implicit threat of legal action. They also urged Bernstein to hold off on providing the documents to Cummings until the subpoena can be litigated in court, suggesting that a protracted legal battle is likely to ensue.
“The Democrats’ fervor has only intensified after the special counsel squelched their ‘Russia collusion’ narrative,” the attorneys continued, outlining a series of legal precedents that they argue prevents Mazars from complying with Cummings’ subpoena.
Last month, the committee formally requested that Mazars turn over 10 years of Trump’s financial records, related specifically to the Trump Organization, the president’s revocable trust and other subsidiaries.
In response, Mazars asked for a so-called friendly subpoena so that it could comply. Cummings told the firm that it was seeking the documents to corroborate the testimony of Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney and fixer, who alleged that Trump artificially inflated and deflated the value of his assets for his personal benefit.
Consovoy and Passantino questioned the committee’s legal authority to conduct such an investigation.
“The House Oversight Committee is not a miniature Department of Justice, charged with investigating and prosecuting potential federal crimes. It is a legislative body, not ‘a law enforcement or trial agency,’ and the chairman’s attempt to assume for Congress the role of police, prosecutor, and judge is unconstitutional,” they wrote.
Bernstein, Mazars’ outside counsel, did not respond to a request for comment on the Trump attorneys’ letter. In a separate letter to Cummings, Consovoy and Passantino echoed Republicans’ criticism of the Mazars subpoena.
It’s right there in the article. The financial records are being sought “to corroborate the testimony of Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney and fixer, who alleged that Trump artificially inflated and deflated the value of his assets for his personal benefit.”
Trump’s attorneys make new appeal to Treasury not to give his tax returns to Hill. pic.twitter.com/PzShoFaQZp— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 15, 2019
I didn’t think it was possible but this is an even weaker formulation of the legal argument than the theory advanced in the first letter. Hard to come up with an explanation other than that there is something in those returns they are really desperate to hide from Congress.
Among other things, the letter from Trump's lawyers is aggressively rude. "Congress has no authority to act as a junior varsity IRS." Seriously? Article I, Section 8 vests all taxing power in Congress. It could abolish the IRS tomorrow. Of course it has authority over the IRS https://t.co/ng3BDq9LrA— David Frum (@davidfrum) April 15, 2019
Meanwhile, the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, which has long provided loans to President Donald Trump despite “a long history of defaults and bankruptcies,” according to the New York Times.
During the course of his business career, Trump has reportedly received more than $2 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank. As the president took office, he had more than $300 million in outstanding loans from the financial institution, which was his largest creditor.
And since Deutsche Bank does not work for Trump, he can’t stop it.