Trump sues Deutsche Bank and Capital One to fight Congress subpoenas. Waters and Schiff respond.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 26: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media after he arrived at a Senate Republican weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol March 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. Congressional top Democrats have demanded Attorney General William Barr to release special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation report for the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(FILE PHOTO by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Five years ago, during the height of then-President Barack Hussein Obama’s presidency, renowned libertarian journalist and commentator Matt Welch warned the American people that “politicians are systemically destroying the right to confidential banking.”

Congressional Democrats’ heavy-handed attempts to secure access to President Donald Trump’s private banking records suggests he was right. Earlier this month Democrats with the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Capital One demanding access to the financial details of not only president but his friends and family as well.

In response, on Monday lawyers for the president, his sons Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and the Trump organization filed a federal lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block them from violating the family’s financial privacy.

“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 suit reportedly reads. “No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”

In a statement issued later that evening, the family’s attorneys stressed that the case could potentially affect every American citizen and his or her right to financial privacy.

“We filed this case to protect the privacy rights of the President, his family and their businesses. The subpoenas issued to Deutsche Bank and Capital One by Chairpersons [Adam] Schiff and [Maxine] Waters are unlawful and illegitimate,” the attorneys said.

“They seek information going back decades from anyone with even a tangential connection to the President, including children, minors and spouses. Every citizen should be concerned about this sweeping, lawless, invasion of privacy.”

Both Deutsche Bank and Capitol One have reportedly vowed to comply with congressional Democrats unless a court intervenes by May 6 and have already begun preparing documents.

While it’s unclear how the court will proceed, the implications are chilling.

“The House of Representatives is demanding, among other things, records of every single checking withdrawal, credit-card swipe, or debit-card purchase — no matter how trivial or small — made by each and every member of the Trump family,” the Trump family’s attorneys said.

In an op-ed for Reason magazine written five years ago, Welch warned of then-President Obama’s efforts “to make all private financial accounts the reciprocal business of national governments.” In 2010, for instance, Obama signed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

“The law inconveniences the estimated 7.6 million Americans living abroad … and anyone else who holds more than $10,000 in foreign financial institutions by imposing on non-American banks a host of invasive, privacy-violating reporting requirements,” he noted.

It’s unclear whether this law is being used to justify the Democrats’ heavy-handed request.

“So what started with drugs and evolved to terrorism has at long last settled on a more primal fear that’s been around much longer than the Constitution: that someone, somewhere, may be saving or spending money without the blessing or even knowledge of the state,” Welch added.

“Money, in this view, does not strictly belong to the individual who “owns” it. It is tolerated only after full disclosure-and tribute-to the government.”

HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING …

House Financial Services chair Maxine Waters and House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff have made it clear on their part that they’re unconcerned about the privacy implications of their requests.

“The meritless lawsuit filed today by President Trump to block duly authorized subpoenas to non-governmental entities is another demonstration of the depths to which President Trump will go to obstruct Congress’s constitutional oversight authority,” they said in a joint statement.

“As a private businessman, Trump routinely used his well-known litigiousness and the threat of lawsuits to intimidate others, but he will find that Congress will not be deterred from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities. This lawsuit is not designed to succeed; it is only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible. 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, and the American people deserve better.”

It’s unclear what exactly is “meritless” about the president and his family attempting to protect the financial privacy rights of not only themselves but every single American citizen.

Earlier this month the president sued Elijah Cummings, the Democrat chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Peter Kenny, the chief investigative counsel of the House committee, after the committee subpoenaed an accounting firm for access to Trump’s financial information.

The suit specifically accused Cummings and Kenny of “assuming the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals outside of government,” solely to dig up dirt ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING …

Vivek Saxena

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