Trump sues Cummings, says he's ignored "constitutional limits on Congress' power to investigate"

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Cummings: Trump will be "emboldened" if Dems "do nothing"

President Trump and the Trump Organization are suing House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings to stop subpoenas for financial information from the president's businesses. Mr. Trump filed the lawsuit Monday morning in D.C. District Court, after Cummings authorized subpoenas for Mazars USA LLP, the president's longtime accountant, along with a few Trump entities.

Mr. Trump, in a strongly worded complaint, claims Congress only has oversight power insofar as it relates to producing legislation.

"Chairman Cummings has ignored the constitutional limits on Congress' power to investigate," the complaint filed by Mr. Trump reads. "Article I of the Constitution does not contain an 'Investigations Clause' or an 'Oversight Clause.' It gives Congress the power to enact certain legislation. Accordingly, investigations are legitimate only insofar as they further some legitimate legislative purpose," the complaint reads.

Mr. Trump's attorney in the case, William Consovoy, is also representing him in the fight over the president's tax returns. Stefan Passantino is the attorney representing Trump entities. The Trump Organization, the Trump Corporation, the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, and the Trump Old Post Office LLC are also plaintiffs in the president's lawsuit.

"We welcome the opportunity to represent President Trump and the other plaintiffs in this matter," their joint statement reads. "The committee's attempt to obtain years' worth of confidential information from their accountants lacks any legitimate legislative purposes, is an abuse of power, and is just another example of overreach by the president's political opponents. We look forward to vindicating our clients' rights in this matter."

Jay Sekulow, one of the president's personal attorneys, said in a statement, "We will not allow congressional presidential harassment to go unanswered."

Cummings responded to the suit by saying the legal complaint "reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief."

"The president has a long history of trying to use baseless lawsuits to attack his adversaries, but there is simply no valid legal basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress," Cummings said. "This complaint reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief, and it contains a litany of inaccurate information. The White House is engaged in unprecedented stonewalling on all fronts, and they have refused to produce a single document or witness to the Oversight Committee during this entire year."

— CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett contributed to this report.

First published on April 22, 2019 / 9:55 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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