POLITICS

Trump, Family Sue To Block Banks From Releasing Private Financial Documents

House lawmakers slammed the effort, saying it was "designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible."

President Donald Trump, alongside his three children and their private business entity, the Trump Organization, filed a lawsuit Monday to prevent the release of bank documents to congressional committees.

The federal suit was filed in Manhattan against Deutsche Bank and Capital One in an attempt to block the financial institutions from complying with congressional subpoenas issued earlier this month by the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees. Democrats, fueled by the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, have been using their legislative muscle to continue their own investigations of Trump and his family, much to the ire of the president.

“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,” the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, says. “No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”

The filing is the second suit filed this month after Trump and his businesses sued congressional lawmakers last week to try to block their subpoenas directly. It’s unclear if any of the lawsuits can succeed, but the cases may delay the release of documents that the Trump family hopes to keep private.

Deutsche Bank, which has issued loans to the Trump family for years, said last week it had begun handing over loan documents to New York authorities amid separate subpoenas from the state’s attorney general, Letitia James. The institution said at the time it was “committed to cooperating with authorized investigations,” although it’s unclear how many documents it has handed over.

Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the chair of the Financial Services Committee, and Adam Schiff (D-Calif), chair of the Intelligence Committee, issued a joint statement Monday condemning what they called a “meritless” suit meant to intimidate lawmakers into silence. The pair launched their own subpoenas earlier this month, saying the probe was a constitutional mandate and that they would “follow the facts wherever they may lead us.”

“This lawsuit is not designed to succeed,” Waters and Schiff said in their statement. “It is only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible. 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.”

The statement added: “This unprecedented stonewalling will not work, and the American people deserve better.”

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