TRUMP SUES DEMOCRATS

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY NI­CHOLAS FANDOS

Pres­i­dent Trump and his busi­nesses sued the chair­man of the House Over­sight and Re­form Com­mit­tee on Monday.

WASH­ING­TON

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his busi­nesses, seek­ing to brush back con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tors, sued the chair­man of the House Over­sight and Re­form Com­mit­tee on Monday to try to quash a con­gres­sional sub­poena for their fi­nan­cial records.

The law­suit, filed in U.S. Dis­trict Court here, ar­gued that the com­mit­tee’s chair­man, Rep. Eli­jah E. Cum­mings, D-Md., had no le­git­i­mate leg­isla­tive rea­son to sub­poena an ac­count­ing com­pany tied to the pres­i­dent, so his sub­poena should be deemed in­valid and un­en­force­able.

“The Demo­cratic Party, with its new­found con­trol of the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, has de­clared all-out po­lit­i­cal war against Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump,” lawyers for the plain­tiffs wrote in their com­plaint. “Sub­poe­nas are their weapon of choice.”

The lawyers are also seek­ing a court order block­ing the ac­count­ing com­pany, Mazars USA, from hand­ing over the in­for­ma­tion, which it says would “ex­pose plain­tiffs’ con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion.”

The suit, which is al­most cer­tain to face a stiff chal­lenge in court, is a fa­mil­iar move for Trump, honed over a long and liti­gious busi­ness ca­reer. It mir­rors other ef­forts in re­cent weeks by per­sonal lawyers for the pres­i­dent and his busi­nesses to block the Demo­crat­ic­con­trolled House from gain­ing ac­cess to Trump’s fi­nances. If noth­ing else, the suit and pos­si­ble coun­ter­suits could de­lay the re­lease of the doc­u­ments sought by Democrats.

“With this sub­poena, the Over­sight Com­mit­tee is in­stead as­sum­ing the powers of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, in­ves­ti­gat­ing (du­bi­ous and par­ti­san) al­le­ga­tions of il­le­gal con­duct by pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als out­side of gov­ern­ment,” the lawyers wrote. “Its goal is to ex­pose plain­tiffs’ pri­vate fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion for the sake of ex­po­sure, with the hope that it will turn up some­thing that Democrats can use as a po­lit­i­cal tool against the pres­i­dent now and in the 2020 elec­tion.”

Trump and his busi­nesses were not party to the Demo­cratic sub­poena, which was sent to Mazars ear­lier this month seek­ing fi­nan­cial records and com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­lated to Trump and his busi­nesses af­ter Michael Co­hen, Trump’s long­time fixer, told the Over­sight Com­mit­tee that his for­mer boss had in­ten­tion­ally mis­rep­re­sented his as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties to suit his needs. In­flat­ing the value of as­sets would help the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion se­cure loans. De­flat­ing the value of as­sets would min­i­mize tax li­a­bil­ity.

“The com­mit­tee has full author­ity to in­ves­ti­gate whether the pres­i­dent may have en­gaged in il­le­gal con­duct be­fore and dur­ing his ten­ure in of­fice, to de­ter­mine whether he has undis­closed con­flicts of in­ter­est that­may im­pair his abil­ity to make im­par­tial pol­icy decisions, to as­sess whether he is com­ply­ing with the emol­u­ments clauses of the Con­sti­tu­tion, and to re­view whether he has ac­cu­rately re­ported his fi­nances to the Of­fice of Gov­ern­ment Ethics and other fed­eral en­ti­ties,” Cum­mings wrote in a memo to mem­bers of his com­mit­tee at the time.

ALEX BRAN­DON AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Wash­ing­ton on Monday dur­ing the an­nual White House Easter Egg Roll. Trump and his busi­nesses filed a law­suit Monday to block a House in­quiry into his fi­nances.

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