House oversight chairman will subpoena Trump’s accountant

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The chairman of the House Oversight Committee said Friday he intends to subpoena President Donald Trump’s accountant for his financial records.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told committee members in a letter that Mazars USA wouldn’t turn over records for Trump, his company and related entities without a subpoena.

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Cummings said he expected to issue the subpoena Monday for statements of financial condition, independent auditor’s reports, annual statements and other documents spanning from 2011 to 2018.

Mazars said it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.” The firm said it does not comment to the media about its work for clients.

A message seeking comment was left with Trump’s company, the Trump Organization.

Cummings’ announcement that he intends to subpoena Trump’s financial records came two days after the Treasury Department missed a deadline to deliver Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee chairman.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told that committee’s chairman, Richard Neal, D-Mass., in a letter Wednesday that the department hasn’t decided whether to comply. Neal asked for Trump’s returns a week ago.

Cummings said his request was prompted by ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony in February that Trump overstated his wealth before becoming president.

Cohen gave the committee copies of financial statements that he says Trump provided to Deutsche Bank during a 2014 attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills.

The documents showed Trump’s net worth soared from $4.55 billion in 2012 to $8.66 billion in 2013 because of the addition of a line item for $4 billion worth of “brand value”— essentially the value Trump placed on his name.

The oversight committee sent a letter to Mazars on March 20 requesting information on how those financial statements and other disclosure documents were prepared.

Mazars responded March 27 that it could not provide the records without a Congressional subpoena.

The same day, the committee’s top Republican sent a letter to Mazars claiming that Cummings’ request exceeded the committee’s legislative authority. The request “does not appear to have a valid legislative purpose and instead seems to seek information to embarrass a private individual,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote.

Cummings criticized Jordan in his letter Friday, calling his actions “troubling” and saying that they worked to undermine the committee’s authority and impair its investigations.

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Jordan shot back in a statement, saying Cummings could’ve held a vote on the subpoena this week but instead waited until committee members left Washington for the Easter break to seek their input.

He called the move to subpoena financial records from Trump’s accountant “an astonishing abuse” of the committee’s authority and a “disgraceful departure” from fair and legitimate oversight.

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