With Donald Trump facing inquiry into his finances, the US president and three of his children sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One, in a bid to prevent them from passing information to House members.
Last month, lawmakers in the intelligence and finance committees of the Congress’ lower assembly issued subpoenas for the two lenders and several other financial institutions. Deutsche Bank has since reportedly started to transfer documents.
According to the lawsuit filed on Monday on Trump’s behalf in New York, the lawmakers’ demands were purely “political.”
“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 document said.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Donald Trump, his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, as well as his daughter Ivanka. Trump Organization and the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust are also listed as plaintiffs.
Previously, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the subpoenas were part of an investigation “into allegations of potential foreign influence on the US political process,” hinting at Trump’s dealings with Russia.
Responding to Trump’s legal move, Schiff and his colleague from the House Financial Committee Maxine Waters said the lawsuit was “meritless.”
“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,” they added.
Barr in stand off with Congress
The conflict between the president and the Democrat-majority body escalated after the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report in April. According to Attorney General William Barr’s interpretation, the Robert Mueller probe did not establish collusion between Trump or his team and Russia. But Barr’s public summation of the report’s findings, issued before the document’s release, was later criticized as partial.
Democrats then subpoenaed Barr’s Department of Justice for the full report and the evidence it was based on. Barr himself is scheduled to testify about the report in Congress on Thursday. However, Barr opposes the lawmakers’ demand to also be questioned by their lawyers. He has threatened to refuse to testify.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Barr would be “obstructing Congress” if he did not show up on Thursday.
Barr cannot “tell the committee how to conduct its interviews,” Pelosi said.
“The attorney general of the United States is not the president’s personal lawyer, and he should act as the attorney general of the United States and honor his responsibilities.”