Politics

Trump’s Lawyers Tell Accounting Firm to Defy Subpoena

Published on April 15, 2019 by Athena Pallas

Even before the House Oversight and Reform Committee has issued the subpoena it plans to use to get ten years of President Trump’s financial records, Trump’s lawyers have told an accounting firm to defy that subpoena. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is set to issue that subpoena today to accounting firm Mazars USA, but two of Trump’s lawyers, Stefan Passantino and William Consovoy, have urged Mazars not to comply, going so far as to warn Mazars that they were putting it “on notice” of potential legal action, according to The Hill.

Chairman Cummings had first requested, without a subpoena, Trump’s financial records from Mazars in March. That request came as a result of congressional testimony from former Trump fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen, who stated that Trump frequently lied about his net worth in order to gain an advantage, understating the value of his real estate in order to try to get lower property taxes and overstating the value of his real estate in order to get the business loans he wanted and in order to be ranked higher on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest people. Mazars responded to that original request by asking for a so-called friendly subpoena before complying with the request, which Chairman Cummings is now doing. According to The Hill:

Attorneys for President Trump are urging an accounting firm not to comply with a House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoena for a decade of his financial records, according to Politico. Two of Trump’s attorneys, Stefan Passantino and William Consovoy, have told Mazars USA to defy the subpoena, which committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is set to issue Monday, according to the report. …The lawyers warned Mazars they were putting the firm “on notice” for potential legal action and urged it not to provide any of the documents Cummings requested before the subpoena has been litigated in court. …Cummings first requested the documents in March in response to testimony from Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen claiming that Trump had manipulated his net worth for “potentially improper purposes.” Mazars asked Cummings for a so-called friendly subpoena before they provided the information.

As part of its report, Politico obtained a copy of a letter attorneys Consovoy and Passantino wrote to Mazars outside counsel Jerry Bernstein in which the attorneys decried the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s investigation of Trump as politically motivated. Their urging Mazars not to comply with a subpoena is consistent with the Trump administration also dragging its heels in complying with a congressional request from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) for six years of Trump’s income tax returns.

It remains to be seen if Mazars USA will indeed comply with a legally issued subpoena or if it will refuse to do so because of this urging by two of President Trump’s lawyers.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.