Congress is asking Trump's accountant to give up the goods.
Congress has requested 10 years of Trump's financial records from his accountant as part of an investigation into whether Trump defrauded lenders and insurers by pretending to be wealthier than he is.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has asked the firm Mazars USA for audits and other statements indicating the financial condition for Trump and his companies, as well as the documents used to produce those reports.
Cummings noted in his request that between June of 2012 and March of 2013, "the value of the President's assets appears to have skyrocketed by $4.2 billion" — but that this increase in value only came from a "single line item" in Trump's assets that did not exist in 2011 or 2012.
The request is in response to testimony from Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who testified under oath that Trump often inflated his net worth to secure loans and other financial commitments. Cohen also testified that Trump used fraudulent information about his net worth to make insurers believe he had the funds to pay lenders back.
Cohen gave the committee financial statements from 2011-2013 that Trump provided to Deutsche Bank in 2014 when he tried to buy the Buffalo Bills. Cummings noted that these statements "raise questions about the President's representations of his financial affairs on these forms and on other disclosures, particularly relating to the President's debts."
Trump's financial interactions with Deutsche Bank have long been suspicious.
The New York Times recently reported that the bank did not believe Trump's assertion that he was worth $3 billion in 2004, and instead assessed his net worth at a much lower $788 million.
Despite this, the bank still loaned Trump $2 billion — which he later defaulted on.
Questions have swirled for years around Trump's claims to have more money than he truly does, and Trump is very sensitive about his net worth. He even sued business reporter Timothy L. O'Brien for publishing his findings about Trump's true holdings in his book, TrumpNation. O'Brien estimated Trump was only worth about $250 million, compared to the $5 billion Trump claimed. The case was thrown out.
Trump's congressional allies are complaining about the Cummings letter.
"His inquiry does not appear to have a valid legislative purpose and instead seems to seek information to embarrass a private individual," wrote Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) in a letter to Trump's accountants.
But if Trump has told the truth about his finances and did not repeatedly fraudulently exaggerate his wealth, what are these Republican congressmen afraid of?
Trump's lies don't just soothe his own ego; they can also be corrupt and dangerous. Trump has used the presidency to generate personal profits for himself, and has likely compromised national security by ignoring security protocols and giving his friends and family access to classified material.
Republicans ignored these red flags for over two years — but with Democrats in charge of the House, that's finally changing.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.