WASHINGTON — Lawyers for President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization are suing Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to block a subpoena for years of financial records from several Trump entities.
The lawyers filed the lawsuit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, saying the subpoena for records from Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, “lacks any legitimate legislative purpose, is an abuse of power, and is just another example of overreach by the president's political opponents."
Earlier this month, Cummings, D-Md., issued the subpoena to Mazars regarding Trump’s finances to corroborate the testimony of his former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, in February.
“We will not allow congressional presidential harassment to go unanswered,” Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, said in a statement. "Harassment" is a phrase Trump often uses to attack his critics in Congress.
The lawsuit argues that House Democrats have “declared an all-out political war against President Donald J. Trump” and that “subpoenas are the weapon of their choice.” It goes on to say Democrats are “obsessed” with finding something that could “damage the president politically.”
Cummings said in a statement Monday afternoon that Trump "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."
"This complaint reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief, and it contains a litany of inaccurate information," he continued. "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."
In late March, Cummings sent a letter to Mazars chairman and CEO Victor Wahba requesting documents related to his panel’s probe into allegations that Trump inflated or deflated financial statements for potentially improper purposes. Cummings said Cohen provided documents to his committee in support of his testimony.
“Mr. Cohen produced to the Committee financial statements from 2011, 2012, and 2013 that raise questions about the President’s representations of his financial affairs on these forms and on other disclosures, particularly relating to the President’s debts,” Cummings wrote in the letter. “Several of these documents appear to have been signed by your firm.”
Cummings asked that Mazars produce the documents to the committee by April 3, a deadline that the accounting firm did not meet, prompting him to issue the subpoena.
After Cummings issued the subpoena, Oversight ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a letter to him and a memo to committee members calling the move an "unprecedented abuse" of the committee's subpoena authority.
The lawsuit comes as Democrats are ramping up their investigations of Trump, issuing subpoenas for information about White House security clearances and the 2020 census and for the full, unredacted Mueller report, which was released in redacted form last Thursday.