Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
- The Trump Organization sued the chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Monday after he subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s accounting firm for Trump’s financial records.
- The chairman, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, announced the subpoena to Mazars USA last week.
- He requested Trump’s financial records going back 10 years and said the subpoena was based on testimony provided by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, as well as "corroborating documents" that raised questions about "whether the President has been accurate in his financial reporting."
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The Trump Organization is suing Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, over a subpoena the panel sent to President Donald Trump’s main accounting firm. The lawsuit also names Peter Kenny, the chief investigative counsel for House oversight Democrats, as a co-defendant.
"Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump’s personal finances, businesses, and even his family," the filing says. "Instead of working with the President to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically."
Cummings announced the subpoena in a memo last week. The Maryland Democrat said it was a "friendly subpoena" because the accounting firm, Mazars USA, had requested one from the committee before turning over records related to the president’s finances.
Cummings requested Trump’s financial records dating back 10 years, adding that the subpoena was based on testimony provided by Trump’s longtime former lawyer, Michael Cohen, as well as "corroborating documents" that "raise grave questions about whether the President has been accurate in his financial reporting."
In February, Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee for a blockbuster hearing in which he implicated the president in campaign-finance violations, as well as financial misconduct. Among other things, Cohen has Trump routinely inflated or deflated his assets for insurance and tax purposes.
Cohen also accused Trump of inflating his net worth in an effort to buy the Buffalo Bills football team.
Since then, House Democrats have launched sprawling inquiries into the president’s campaign, businesses, financial dealings, inaugural committee, and more.
According to The Washington Post, when Mazars USA was putting together statements of Trump’s financial stability, accountants at the firm did not verify the figures Trump provided to them, saying that it was not their job to check for their authenticity.
When asked if the values provided "have to be logical," one of the accountants replied, "The value per se does not have to be logical."
In its lawsuit against Cummings and Kenny, the Trump Organization pointed out that Cohen is a "felon who has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress." The president’s longtime former lawyer and fixer has pleaded guilty to several counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, campaign-finance violations, and lying to Congress as part of two investigations, one from the Southern District of New York and the other from the special counsel Robert Mueller.
In the Manhattan US attorney’s office’s case, Cohen said he broke the law with the knowledge and direction of Trump.
In Mueller’s case, where Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, he said Trump did not explicitly order him to mislead lawmakers but indicated that he do so using "coded" language. Cohen also said his false congressional testimony was reviewed by Trump’s legal team in the days before he gave it.
Trump’s financial worth is perhaps the biggest question mark looming over his real-estate career.
In 2009, he told The Wall Street Journal he was worth $5 billion, not including the value of the Trump brand. A month later, Trump’s accountant prepared a financial statement that said his net worth was "in excess of $3 billion." Two years later, Trump bragged during a Comedy Central roast that he was worth more than $7 billion. In May 2016, at the height of that year’s presidential election, Trump said in a press release that he was worth more than $10 billion.
The president has admitted that the statements he makes about his financial worth are not always based in fact.
In 2007, Trump sued the journalist Timothy O’Brien after O’Brien wrote in his book "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald" that Trump’s actual net worth was between $150 million and $250 million.
In a deposition Trump gave for the lawsuit — which was eventually dismissed — he acknowledged that his net worth fluctuated based on his emotions.
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