President Trump, his three eldest children, the Trump Organization and the family trust have jointly filed a lawsuit to try and stop Deutsche Bank and Capital One from turning over records of its financial dealings with the Trump Organization to the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, according to Bloomberg. In the lawsuit, the family’s lawyers contend that Congress is simply trying to “harass” their client with a “fishing expedition” (as Democrats cast about for a new narrative with which to bludgeon the president now that the Russia collusion narrative has fizzled with the publication of the Mueller report).
Trump’s lawsuit is similar to another he filed to block a subpoena sent by Elijah Cummings on behalf of the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee to Mazar’s, the Trump Organization’s accounting firm.
Since winning control of the House in November, Democrats have warned about their plans to ‘let the subpeonaes fly’, and launch investigations into everything from Trump’s finances to any hint of interference from the White House in the DoJ’s decision to challenge the Time Warner-AT&T merger.
Leaks published earlier this year revealed how Deutsche Bank turned down a Trump Organization loan request made during the 2016 campaign. The company had been looking for money to finance renovations at its Turnberry golf club in Scotland. Documents showed the bank had been skittish about being associated with Trump due to his controversial rhetoric, and that senior executives at the bank weren’t aware of the extent of DB’s multi-decade lending relationship with the Trumps. Even after defaulting on a loan and suing the bank during the financial crisis, DB’s wealth management unit continued to do business with Trump.
DB has already started handing over documents to the New York State AG, who is carrying out a separate investigation.
The German lender has already begun the process of giving documents related to loans made to Trump or some of his businesses to the New York state attorney general, who is conducting her own probe, said a person familiar with the matter. The bank hasn’t yet handed over any client-related records to the House committees and will wait for the outcome of the legal proceedings, said the person, asking not to be identified in disclosing internal information.
“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,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the introduction to the 13-page complaint filed Monday in Manhattan federal court.
Though Deutsche Bank has been responsible for the bulk of the business lending to the Trump Org since the 1990s, Congress is seeking records from a total of nine financial institutions that have had financial dealings with the Trump Org.
House Democrats’ investigations into President Trump’s finances and potential money laundering tied to Russia have prompted them to demand documents from nine banking giants, according to people familiar with the matter. Deutsche Bank, which lent Trump some $340 million, has been a primary target of the House Financial Services Committee, led by Representative Maxine Waters.
But given Deutsche Bank’s reputation as the “biggest money laundering bank in the world”, as Maxine Waters once branded the bank, it has been the House’s highest-priority target.
Democrats vowed to push ahead with their subpeona, even as DB has decided to wait on complying with the House’s “friendly subpeona” until a judge rules on the Trump lawsuit.
Both Waters and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff have been seeking information from Deutsche Bank since Democrats took over the House majority in January. Schiff said the Frankfurt-based bank has been cooperative with the investigations and their request was a “friendly subpoena.” Such a subpoena is typically submitted when a firm is willing to hand over documents but wants a formal request first.
“We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations,” a Deutsche Bank spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.
It’s unclear how Capital One plans to respond to the lawsuit.