Following the Money
Lawyers representing President Trump, his three grown children, and seven Trump Organization companies filed a suit late Monday in a bid to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with congressional subpoenas. Two weeks ago, the House Financial Services Committee and House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed the two banks, requesting information reportedly including potential evidence of money laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, is the latest bid by Trump to shield his personal and business financial records from House Democrats and the public. He has already asked the Treasury Department not to hand over his tax returns and sued his accounting firm and House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to thwart another subpoena.
Monday's lawsuit argues that the House subpoenas "have no legitimate or lawful purpose" and instead are meant to "harass" Trump and "cause him political damage." In a statement, Trump's lawyers Marc Mukasey and Patrick Strawbridge called the subpoenas a "sweeping, lawless, invasion of privacy."
Claiming the House subpoenas are illegitimate or politically motivated is a "frivolous argument, even if it's true," Stanford Law professor David Alan Sklansky tells The Washington Post. "That is not a basis for quashing a subpoena," and in fact, "that's how subpoena power works — it's about getting information that people would like to be kept private." Still, while "this isn't a close legal question," he added, it could delay the House investigation.
The heads of the House committees, Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), called the lawsuit "meritless" and "only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible." A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman said the German bank, Trump's largest known lender, remains "committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations."