elijah cummings 3-27-2019
Cummings: We could be headed toward constitutional crisis
01:01 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said Friday he will issue what he has previously called a “friendly subpoena” to the accounting firm that prepared several years’ worth of President Donald Trump’s financial statements.

The accounting firm, Mazars USA, had requested such a subpoena from the committee before providing records, and Cummings wrote to committee members he would serve it on Monday.

Cummings had requested financial information from Mazars USA dating back 10 years after Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen accused Trump of inflating his net worth in an attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills football team. Cohen provided the committee with Trump’s financial statements from 2011, 2012 and 2013 that were prepared by Mazars USA.

“Counsel to Mazars sent a response letter explaining that, pursuant, to the company’s legal obligations, Mazars cannot voluntarily turn over the documents ‘unless disclosure is made pursuant to, among other things, a congressional subpoena,” Cummings wrote in his memo to committee members.

Cummings and other Democratic committee chairman have been seeking Trump’s financial information as part of a plethora of probes into the President and his businesses. Cummings and two other committee chairmen have also requested financial information related to the Trump International Hotel from Capital One, which also requested a subpoena before providing material to Congress.

Republicans accused Cummings of abusing the committee’s oversight powers in targeting Trump’s finances, arguing it’s outside of the committee’s purview.

“Chairman Cummings’s announcement of a subpoena to a private company to pry into the President’s personal finances is an astonishing abuse of this Committee’s authority and a disgraceful departure from the fair and legitimate oversight he promised,” Oversight’s top Republican, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, said in a statement Friday.

But Cummings responded to Republicans in his memo Friday, accusing Jordan of taking “unprecedented” action writing to Mazars urging the company not to comply with Cummings’ request.

This is the first subpoena Cummings has issued as chairman where the committee did not hold a markup to vote on the subpoena. Cummings wrote that he cannot hold a markup because Congress is in recess for the next two weeks, but he instead offered members to send the committee feedback before the subpoena is issued on Monday.

House committee chairmen have powers to issue subpoenas unilaterally, but both Cummings and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler have opted to hold markups for their subpoenas so far in the new Congress.

This story has been updated with additional developments Friday.