House Republicans Quietly Halt Inquiry Into Trump’s Finances

House Republicans Quietly Halt Inquiry Into Trump’s Finances

WASHINGTON — House Republicans have quietly dropped a congressional investigation into whether Donald J. Trump improperly profited from the presidency and have refused to enforce a court-supervised settlement agreement that requires Mazars USA, his former accounting firm, to pay to Congress submit its financial records.

Rep. James R. Comer, a Republican from Kentucky and chairman of the Oversight and Accountability Committee, made it clear that he had given up any investigation into the former President’s financial dealings — and said he had no knowledge of the investigation that the Democrats had started, when they controlled the House – and instead focused on whether President Biden and members of his family were involved in an influence scheme.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know who or what Mazars was,” said Mr. Comer, who was the ranking Republican on the board of directors during the last convention while Democrats fought a protracted legal battle over getting documents from the company.

“What exactly are they looking for?” Mr. Comer added in a brief statement to the New York Times on Monday. “They’ve been ‘investigating’ Trump for six years. I know exactly what I’m investigating: money the Bidens received from China.”

He confirmed the end of the investigation into Mr Trump after Democrats wrote to Mr Comer raising concerns that Mazars, the former president’s longtime accounting firm, which cut ties with him last year, overturned documents related to ceased its financial dealings. The top Democrat on the panel suggested Mr Comer had worked with Mr Trump’s attorneys to effectively end the investigation, an allegation the leader denied.

“It has come to my attention that you may have worked with attorneys for former President Donald Trump to prevent the committee from obtaining documents used as part of its investigation into unauthorized, unreported, and unlawful payments by foreign governments and others to the then… President Trump were subpoenaed. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, the panel’s top Democrat, wrote to Mr Comer Sunday night.

Mr Comer on Monday denied knowledge of any attempt to coordinate with Mr Trump’s lawyers to block the investigation, but made it clear he had no intention of pursuing it. His committee has not issued any subpoenas regarding Mr Trump’s finances.

Democrats fought courts for years to obtain financial documents from Mr. Trump’s former accounting firm, and only last year — after completing a court-ordered settlement — did they begin obtaining the documents and gaining new insights into how foreign governments are using Trump International influence sought hotel. The company delivered the documents to the committee in batches.

The 118th Congress is underway, with Republicans controlling the House of Representatives and Democrats controlling the Senate.

In the letter, Mr Raskin wrote that he reviewed communications between Patrick Strawbridge, Mr Trump’s attorney, and an attorney for Mazars, in which the Trump attorney said he had been told that House Republicans were no longer on the bill additional documents would exist. On January 19, Mr. Strawbridge wrote: “I do not know the status of Mazars production, but I understand that the committee has no interest in forcing Mazars to complete and is willing to exempt it from further obligations under the settlement agreement release .”

Mr. Raskin wrote that Mr. Strawbridge confirmed that allegations had been made against him twice by the House General Counsel, then Todd Tatelman.

Mr Tatelman did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Mr Strawbridge or Mazars’ lawyers.

Democratic staffers on the committee said they have repeatedly asked Mazars for written confirmation that House Republicans had agreed to release the company from its obligations under the subpoena and the court-supervised settlement agreement. But Mazars said it had not received any such release, nor had one been filed with the court, which retained jurisdiction over the matter.

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Even so, Mazars told Democrat staff that, based on Mr Strawbridge’s allegations, it would cease production after delivering a small tranche of documents it had already identified in response to the subpoena, the letter said.

Enforcing a court-supervised settlement agreement reached with one Congress during a subsequent Congress under new leadership remains a legally murky gray area. Subpoenas in cases involving the House of Representatives lapse at the end of each Congress, but Mazars continued to produce documents even after the House of Representatives transferred ownership to Republican control. Still, it would be unlikely that a judge would enforce the settlement if the parties involved no longer had an interest in enforcement, lawyers for both parties said.

The Mazars documents have so far provided new evidence of how foreign governments have attempted to influence the Trump administration. In November, for example, documents obtained by Mazars’ committee detailed how officials from six nations spent more than $750,000 at Mr. Trump’s Washington hotel as they attempted to influence his administration by renting rooms for more than 10,000 rented dollars a night.

“Faced with mounting evidence that foreign governments sought to influence the Trump administration by exploiting President Trump’s financial interests, you and President Trump’s officials appear to have acted in a coordinated manner to bury evidence of such wrongdoing.” , Mr. Raskin wrote to Mr. Raskin. comer

While Mazars has stopped producing documents related to Mr. Trump’s finances, Mr. Comer has intensified his investigation into Mr. Biden and his relatives.

Mr. Comer has issued a broad subpoena to obtain banking records from Biden family employees, requesting Bank of America to provide “all financial records” for three individuals from January 20, 2009 to the present — a 14-year period , wrote Mr. Raskin.

He has specifically focused on John R. Walker, an associate of Hunter Biden, the President’s son, whose business dealings are under investigation by the Justice Department. Mr. Walker was involved in a joint venture with executives of CEFC China, a now-bankrupt Chinese energy conglomerate.

Mr Raskin accused Mr Comer of using a “wildly over-the-top subpoena” to conduct “a trawl of opposition political research on behalf of former President Trump”.

Mr Comer replied that Mr Raskin was trying to “detract from the real issue here, and that is the Biden family money trail from China”.

“I now have documents to prove it; Raskin knows, and Raskin had a breakdown,” added Mr. Comer.

With Congress in Democratic hands, the House Oversight Committee waged a year-long battle to get Mr. Trump’s financial records from Mazars in one of the big legal propositions of the Trump presidency.

Mazars severed ties with the Trump Organization in 2022, saying she could no longer take a decade of the financial reports she produced.

Charlie Savage contributed to the coverage.

Luke Broadwater and Jonathan Swan