Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings wants 10 years of Trump financial records

Democrats are following up on Michael Cohen's testimony about the president.

March 27, 2019, 11:00 PM

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is seeking 10 years of President Donald Trump's financial records as part of his committee's efforts to follow up on former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's testimony last month.

The request, made before the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and over the objections of Republicans, is one of several ongoing efforts on Capitol Hill to dig deeper into the president's finances, an area Democrats believe Mueller did not sufficiently explore and one of sensitivity to the president. It's the latest sign that they plan to continue their work, despite the conclusions of the Mueller investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

PHOTO: House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings speaks on Capitol Hill, March 14, 2019.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings speaks on Capitol Hill, March 14, 2019.
Jose Luis Magana/AP, FILE

In a letter to Mazars USA chairman and CEO Victor Wahba on March 20, Cummings said the committee wanted to verify Cohen's testimony that Trump altered the values of his assets and liabilities on financial statements that were prepared by the firm. Cummings said that several of Trump's financial statements turned over to the committee by Cohen appear to have been signed by the accounting firm.

Jennifer Farrington, a Mazars spokesperson, declined to say if the firm would cooperate with Cummings' request, or comment on its relationship with Trump.

"Mazars believes strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work and our client interactions. As a matter of firm policy and professional rules we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients."

Cohen testified that Trump inflated his net worth in his efforts to secure a loan to bid on the NFL's Buffalo Bills, and that Trump inflated his assets in statements to an insurance company, and deflated them to "reduce his real estate taxes."

Trump dismissed Cohen's testimony before Congress, telling reporters Cohen "lied about so many different things" after his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Maryland Democrats' letter was first revealed by Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Republicans on the committee who wrote to the accounting firm earlier Wednesday expressing concerns with Cummings' request for information.

Jordan and Meadows, in a letter to the chairman, accused him of seeking the information to "embarrass President Trump and to advance the relentless Democrat attacks upon the Trump administration."

Cummings, who has requested the information by April 3, accused Republicans of directly interfering with the committee's investigation and working to encourage the accounting firm not to cooperate with his staff.

"If they had their way, the Committee would just close up shop for the next two years, but that is not what the American people elected us to do," he said in a statement. "We are following up on specific allegations regarding the President’s actions based on corroborating documents obtained by the Committee, and we will continue our efforts to conduct credible, robust, and independent oversight.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cummings' letter to Mazars.

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