If Congress is allowed to investigate President Trump’s finances, then future commanders-in-chief will face “nonstop investigations into the[ir] personal lives,” Trump argued in a Wednesday court filing.
Trump is trying to convince a federal judge to delay the enforcement of subpoenas sent to Deutsche Bank and Capitol One by two congressional committees last month as part of a wide-ranging investigation into his finances.
In a legal memo filed in Manhattan federal court, attorneys for the president, his family, and his businesses wrote: “The Committees’ position means that nonstop investigations into the personal lives of Presidents (motivated by the hope of finding politically damaging information) will be the new normal whenever the President is from a different political party than the House or Senate.”
The Trump team wants the judge to prohibit the financial institutions from responding to the subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees until the full court case can play itself out.
The Deutsche Bank subpoena focuses on the potential of foreign influence over the Trump administration, while the Capital One request targets fraud allegations surrounding the President and the Trump Organization.
The new filing accuses Congress of undertaking an unprecedented attempt “to rifle through the private financial information of a sitting President, his family, and his businesses.”
Trump took the unprecedented step of hiring personal attorneys to file lawsuits sue the financial institutions to prevent them from responding to the congressional requests.
Yet in the new filing, his attorneys claim that Congress is engaging in a radical expansion of its own power by issuing these “illegal” subpoenas. They urge the court to take its time in deciding the case.
“This Court would do well to pause, and at least receive full briefing and argument on the merits of these serious constitutional questions, before endorsing the Committees’ unchecked view of congressional subpoena power,” Trump wrote.
He goes on to say that it is “‘cold comfort’ that only the House—an institution controlled by the other political party and that is currently investigating every nook and cranny of the President’s life,” would receive the requested information.
The President also suggests that delays by House Democrats in starting their investigations show that there is no urgency to the request and that, therefore, the judge can postpone the subpoena’s enforcement until higher courts rule on the matter.
“Even if Plaintiffs’ documents were somehow crucial, there is no urgency to get them: the subpoenas mostly concern documents from years ago, the Committees waited several months into the 116th Congress before issuing them, and the Committees already agreed to delay enforcement until this Court rules on the motion for a preliminary injunction,” personal attorneys for the President write.
In addition to the Deutsche Bank case in Manhattan federal court, Trump filed a suit in D.C. against his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA.
The judge in the Mazars case appeared skeptical of Trump’s effort this week, and suggested that he would decide the matter quickly.
Arguments in the Deutsche matter are scheduled for May 22.
Read the filing below:
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