WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump, his three oldest children and the Trump Organisation have sued Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp to try to block them from responding to subpoenas issued by US congressional Democrats seeking financial records.
The lawsuit represents a new front in Trump’s battle to stop the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives from probing the Republican president, his family, his businesses and his administration after Special Counsel Robert Mueller finished his inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
The complaint, filed on Monday night in federal court in Manhattan, also called quashing the subpoenas an urgent matter, saying that absent a court order Deutsche Bank planned to begin responding to its subpoena on May 6, and Capital One would feel obligated to begin responding by that date.
Deutsche Bank has long been one of the main banks for Trump’s real estate empire, while the president’s ties to Capital One were not immediately clear.
In the complaint, Trump, his adult children Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, and the Trump Organisation accused House leaders of pursuing records for no legitimate or lawful purpose.
“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,” the complaint said.
The lawsuit also accused Democratic leaders of hoping to “stumble upon something they can expose publicly and use as a political tool against the President.” Only the banks were named as defendants.
Deutsche Bank said it was “committed to providing appropriate information to all authorised investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations.” Capital One was not immediately available for comment. Lawyers for the plaintiffs were not immediately available for comment.
Trump has aggressively sought to defy congressional oversight of his administration since Democrats took control of the House in January, building towards a major showdown between the executive and legislative branches of government testing the separation of powers spelled out in the US Constitution.
Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, and Representative Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said the lawsuit is part of Trump’s “unprecedented stonewalling” of congressional oversight.
“As a private businessman, Trump routinely used his well-known litigiousness and the threat of lawsuits to intimidate others, but he will find that Congress will not be deterred from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities,” they said in a statement.
Waters and Schiff said on April 15 their committees issued subpoenas to multiple financial institutions for information on Trump’s finances.
Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2019