President Donald Trump sued to block Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. from complying with congressional subpoenas targeting his bank records, escalating the president’s showdown with Democratic lawmakers investigating his finances.
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.
Joining Trump as plaintiffs were his eldest children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump, as well as the Trump Organization, the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust and other entities affiliated with the president’s family.
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.
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.
Deutsche Bank had been Trump’s go-to lender for decades, even as other commercial banks stopped doing business with him because of multiple bankruptcies. Although the German lender’s investment bank had severed ties with Trump during the financial crisis, after he defaulted on a loan and then sued the bank, its wealth management unit continued to extend him credit.
The firm has stopped doing new business with Trump while he is president, a person briefed on the matter said previously.
The complaint is very similar to one Trump filed last week in Washington to block Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, from getting records held by Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA LLP.
The new case is Trump v. Deutsche Bank, 19-cv-03826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).