C.H.E.A.T.S! While our attention was otherwise engaged…
NEWS: The president, his kids and the Trump Org sue Deustsche Bank and Capital One to prevent them from responding to congressional subpoenas, according to papers filed today.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 30, 2019
Bess Levin, at Vanity Fair, “Fire Up the Shredders: Trump Family Sues Deutsche Bank to Keep Shady Finances Under Wraps“:
… The New York Times reports that Trump, Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric, and the Trump Organization filed a federal lawsuit late Monday against Deutsche Bank and Capital One, in an effort to stop the banks from responding to congressional subpoenas. In the suit, the president’s family and his private business—which he continues to profit from while running the country—argue that the House committees that issued the demands for information are engaging in a political fishing expedition. “This case involves congressional subpoenas that have no legitimate or lawful purpose,” the suit reads. “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. No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”
The subpoenas in question were issued by the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees roughly two weeks ago, demanding information about the German lender’s famous client, as well as documents related to “possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe.” In a joint statement, Representative Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, and Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, called the lawsuit “meritless,” saying it showed “the depths to which President Trump will go to obstruct Congress’s constitutional oversight authority. . . . 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.”
If the president appears concerned about the prospect of Deutsche Bank telling lawmakers everything it knows about his financial history, it’s probably because he should be. Last month, a lengthy story by reporter David Enrich provided some insight on the relationship between the perennial bankruptcy artist and the German bank; the latter apparently had “a ravenous appetite for risk,” which meant it was happy to lend money to Trump when no one else on Wall Street would get within 200 feet of him, and to go along with his vast financial lies. For instance, in 2004, Trump asked the bank’s commercial real-estate group to lend him more than $500 million to build his 92-story skyscraper in Chicago; it did, but not before employees concluded he was majorly inflating his net worth, and were told he’d “worked with people in the construction industry connected to organized crime.” Ten years later, when Trump was trying to buy the Buffalo Bills and needed to prove to the league he had the funds to pull off a transaction that could exceed $1 billion, the bank agreed to vouch that his worth was $8.7 billion. His former fixer, Michael Cohen, told lawmakers this was an (obvious, extreme) exaggeration back in February…
Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to release Deutsche Bank’s Trump data that you’ve probably had for years.
— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) April 30, 2019
Donald Trump says he's been "the most transparent president" ever. His lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One tells us the opposite. My column on Trump's most recent battle with Congress: https://t.co/j7zxMnhXb5
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) April 30, 2019
… Welcome to the first salvos of the post-Mueller battle between the White House and Congress over the separation of powers, executive authority and the Pandora’s box of thorny, troubling problems stemming from the fact that Trump is the most financially conflicted president of the modern era.
Of course, politics are at work here. But principles are at stake as well. How this plays out will inform whether non-partisan and non-ideological values such as good government, ethical management, and, yes, transparency have institutional protection in the future regardless of which president and which party controls the White House.
In the here and now, we’re also seeing Washington’s gladiators move beyond what inspired Mueller’s investigation — the possibility that Trump and his team cooperated in a criminal conspiracy involving electoral sabotage and obstruction of justice — and into equally, if not even more crucial, questions about whether the Oval Office and policy-making are captives of Trump’s own greed and business relationships. In that context, what’s taking shape isn’t about voyeurism and improper peeking into the Trump Organization’s vaults. It’s about getting a clear grasp of whether Trump is financially compromised and if he is putting the presidency and the public interest at risk because of it…
The president clearly has issues with ethical and financial boundaries and, despite his lawsuit’s protests that his privacy is being violated, he’s not just your average American businessman or citizen; he’s someone clothed in immense power who, quite properly, needs to be held to a higher standard. In the years prior to the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations, Trump went on a spending spree that included golf course developments, the Trump SoHo Hotel and other projects funded in mysterious ways. Deutsche Bank, in particular, has been party to a substantial portion of decades of the president’s ventures and, as I’ve noted before, the bank has some important stories to tell.
Congress understands this…
"It’s a significant hire that will bring expertise to the committee’s efforts to scrutinize President Donald Trump’s financial dealings."
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 1, 2019
And still more tsuris!
BREAKING… Federal judge rules against @realDonaldTrump and administration in Democrats anti- corruption lawsuit … would clear way for search of records of his profits from foreign interests. Me w @amarimow@OConnellPostbizhttps://t.co/qq9LQq6C1S
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) April 30, 2019
Congressional Democrats’ emoluments lawsuit targeting President Trump’s private business can proceed, judge says https://t.co/KPRsQi9i1V
— Jacob T. Levy (@jtlevy) April 30, 2019
3/ This isn't just another episode of America's favorite TV reality show, the Dumbass Borgias.
Everything for Trump is the brand, the ego, the image. I suspect that as these things reveal, we'll see the truth of their, flimsy, gimcrack enterprise.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) April 30, 2019