These Trump Lawsuits Are Getting Batsh*ttier By The Day!
Another day, another bullshit Trump lawsuit.
This time Donald Trump and his feckless spawn are suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One to stop them complying with congressional subpoenas to turn over the family's financials. Which is how normal people act when there is NO CORRUPTION! Earlier this month, the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees (HPSCI and FinServ to their pals) dropped "friendly" subpoenas on the banks for
all financial documents in their possession on Poppy, Deej, Eric, Vanky, Trump's revocable trust, the Trump businesses, and any accounts held by family members or related businesses. Naturally, Eric is very concerned that Adam Schiff is just trying to embarrass poor Tiffany for getting day drunk in when she's supposed to be doing extremely serious law student stuff. Happy Birthday, sis!
Why itemized receipts from Tiff's AmEx Black would show up on DB's books is a mystery. The point is, aside from a few beers in Georgetown, no one in Trumpland has anything to hide. But it's the principle of the thing, darnit! Why should Maxine Waters get to know how much Young Eric spends on Superman Underoos. That is private!
So the family got together and filed this piece of drek in Manhattan federal court yesterday in hopes of throwing enough sand in the gears to get through November 2020 without having to turn their financial data over to Congress. And they might just get away with it.
Okay, let's dive into this nonsense. We're just going to ignore Trump's lawyers throwing poo for 2000 words about how it is illegitimate for the House Intelligence Committee to investigate the president's financial entanglements with foreign state and non-state actors. Ain't nobody got time for that. Especially when Trump's legal team came up with an even batshittier argument than that last week when they said congressional oversight is ILLEGAL, citing Eastland v. United States Servicemen's Fund, 421 U.S. 491 (1975), wherein the Supreme Court enforced the congressional subpoena and said that it wasn't going to second guess Congress's assertion of legitimate legislative intent. They brought up Eastland again yesterday, but this time Trump Org lawyer Marc Mukasey is on the case, and he has a shiny new bullshit theory. (Why yes, Marc's father Michael Mukasey is the former attorney general they trot out on Fox for unbiased commentary on the Trump administration. Of course he is.)
[T]he Committees' attempts to obtain Plaintiffs' account records violate the statutory requirements that apply to the federal government under the Right to Financial Privacy Act ("RFPA"). Under the RFPA, federal authorities are required to follow certain steps—including the provision of notice and an opportunity to object—before obtaining private financial records. The Committees have ignored these requirements, and any production of account records by Deutsche Bank or Capital One would violate the law ...
Okay, deep breaths.
First of all, the RFPA does not apply to congressional action. Chapter 12 U.S. Code §3401(3) defines "Government authority" as "any agency or department of the United States, or any officer, employee, or agent thereof." The House of Representatives is not an agency or department -- it is a co-equal body that exists entirely outside the Executive branch. Big props to Trump's lawyers for consistently referring to "federal authorities" and "the federal government," instead of Congress. So crafty!
Second of all, "federal authorities" are only obligated to give notice of subpoena to "persons," defined in the statute as "an individual or a partnership of five or fewer individuals." Even if the statute applied to Congress -- which it does not -- the Trump Organization and related LLCs would have no rights under the RFPA, as was confirmed by the Sixth Circuit in July.
Third of all, the banks do not "face a difficult choice: ignore the subpoenas and risk contempt of Congress, or comply with the subpoenas and risk liability to Plaintiffs under the RFPA and other laws." Capital One's own ads are a band of marauding Visigoths. Even if they did face potential liability for complying with a congressional subpoena -- which they do not -- they undoubtedly force all clients to sign fifty pages of boilerplate absolving the company of any and all liability for disclosing client data.
Fourth of all, courts cannot quash a congressional subpoena, as the Trumpers request with their very big REALLY SMART brains. Courts might theoretically refuse to enforce congressional subpoenas, but the subpoenas themselves fall under the Speech or Debate Clause. As the Supreme Court said in Eastland, the case Trump continually relies upon:
The subpoena cannot be held subject to judicial questioning on the alleged ground that it works an invasion of respondents' privacy, since it is "essential to legislating." [...] Nor can the subpoena be held outside the protection of speech or debate immunity on the alleged ground that the motive of the investigation was improper, since in determining the legitimacy of a congressional action the motives alleged to have prompted it are not to be considered.
Fifth of all, Trump's guys were so unserious about this bullshit lawsuit that they didn't even bother to get the quotes right.
And sixth of all, FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON. Deutsche Bank has already said that it will comply with the subpoena by Monday, May 6, unless some court issues an injunction. Not bloody likely, but who the hell even knows these days?
DONE. WE ARE DONE HERE.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.