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House Democrats to subpoena accounting firm for Trump’s financial records

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) leads a recent committee hearing. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

A top House investigative committee plans to subpoena President Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for Trump’s financial statements on Monday, according to a memo to committee members obtained by The Washington Post.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings on Friday notified panel members of his intention to subpoena the company after it refused to hand over Trump’s financial documents, citing laws and rules that require compulsory measures from the panel.

Cummings (D-Md.) had told reporters earlier this month that the company requested what he called a “friendly subpoena,” before they would comply with the request.

The move comes less than a week after the Treasury Department missed a deadline to hand over Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. Lawmakers expect the Trump administration to take their fight over the president’s IRS documents to the courts — so they have sought other avenues to learn about Trump’s business practices in the meantime.

That is why Oversight has reached out to Mazars as well as Capital One, Trump’s personal bank.

For more than a decade, Mazars and a predecessor firm signed off on financial statements for Trump that he used when seeking loans. Some of the statements include frequent exaggerations or inaccuracies and were accompanied by a note from the firm saying it was not responsible for the accuracy of the information.

The Oversight committee on March 20 asked the company for copies of “statements of financial condition” and audits prepared for Trump and several of his companies, including the one that owns the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington. The panel also requested supporting documents used to produce the reports and communications between the firm and Trump.

The company said Friday that it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”

In a March 27 letter responding to the committee, shared with The Post, Mazars officials laid out rules and laws barring them from handing out client information without a “validly issued and enforceable subpoena.”

“As I am sure you can appreciate, Mazars cannot voluntarily turn over the documents sought in the request,” wrote Jerry D. Bernstein, a lawyer representing the firm said at the time.

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), criticized the subpoena “to pry into the president’s personal finances,” calling Cummings’s move “an astonishing abuse of this committee’s authority and a disgraceful departure from the fair and legitimate oversight he promised.”

The Democrats’ requests for a decade of financial information followed accusations from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen that Trump had inflated his worth to mislead his lenders and insurers.

During a late February hearing, Cohen provided copies of financial statements for 2011, 2012 and 2013, which he said Trump had sent to Deutsche Bank in pursuit of a loan to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2014.

Cohen said the same sort of statement had been sent to Trump’s insurers in an attempt to lower Trump’s premiums by reassuring lenders about Trump’s ability to pay them.