President Donald Trump and several members of his family sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One on Monday seeking to prevent them from responding to congressional subpoenas for information about the president's finances.
The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees have issued subpoenas to several banks as part of their investigations of alleged foreign influence on U.S. elections.
Deutsche Bank AG has continued to lend Trump money when other banks have refused. Trump wrote a $35,000 check to his former personal attorney Michael Cohen from his personal checking account with Capital One Financial Corp. Cohen submitted a copy of one of the checks to Congress ahead of his testimony.
The lawsuit — filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by the president, his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, his daughter Ivanka and several Trump properties — says the subpoenas "have 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, and to ferret about for any material that might be used to cause him political damage," it alleges. "No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one."
The suit alleges that Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, both D-Calif., have refused to provide the Trumps with copies of the subpoenas, "preventing them from even knowing, let alone negotiating, the subpoenas' scope or breadth."
It seeks a declaratory judgment that the subpoenas are invalid and unenforceable and a permanent injunction to quash the subpoenas.
The Democratic chairs of the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees, California Reps. Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff, said in a joint statement that the lawsuit is "meritless" and an effort "to obstruct Congress’s constitutional oversight authority."
“This lawsuit is not designed to succeed; it is only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible," they said. "Trump has already said publicly that he is fighting all of the subpoenas from Congress, and that he does not respect Congress’ role as a coequal branch of government. This unprecedented stonewalling will not work, and the American people deserve better.”
Waters told reporters later Tuesday morning that lawmakers would "fight tooth and nail" for the financial information, adding that some of it could help to inform them about whether to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump.
"He is obviously afraid that we are gonna learn more about his relationships with Deutsche Bank, more about his bankruptcies perhaps, more about whether or not there's money laundering that's been involved in some ways," Waters said of the president. "We have enough information, and we have enough to help us, to guide us to moving forward with these subpoenas."
Kerrie McHugh, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank, told NBC News on Monday night, "We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations."
Capital One couldn't immediately be reached for comment.