House Democrats are accusing House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) of coordinating with lawyers for Donald Trump to stop the former president’s longtime accounting firm Mazars from producing evidence related to Trump’s tax dealings.
Mazars reached an agreement in the fall to turn over documents sought by a House subpoena issued by the Oversight Committee in April 2019, ending a lawsuit on the issue. At the time, the House was controlled by Democrats.
But Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (Md.), who is now the ranking Democrat on the committee, said that recent correspondence obtained by Democrats showed that Trump’s lawyers told a counsel for Mazars to stop providing documents to the committee.
“On January 19, 2023, Patrick Strawbridge, counsel for Donald Trump, wrote to counsel for Mazars, stating ‘I do not know the status of Mazars [sic] production, but my understanding is that the Committee has no interest in forcing Mazars to complete it and is willing to release it from further obligations under the settlement agreement,’” Raskin wrote in the letter addressed to Comer, a copy of which was provided to The Washington Post.
“When counsel for Mazars sought clarification, Mr. Strawbridge confirmed this direction had been provided to him, twice, by the Acting General Counsel of the House of Representatives, in his capacity as counsel to the Committee,” Raskin added.
The material provided to the committee before Republicans took control of the House in January included documents showing authoritarian governments spending lavishly at Trump-owned properties while Trump was president.
Strawbridge did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Jessica Collins, a spokeswoman for Comer, called Raskin’s allegations “completely unfounded and untrue.”
“There has been no coordination or discussion with anyone from the Committee’s majority with anyone about the Mazars documents,” Collins said in a statement.
Comer, meanwhile, has promised to strengthen reporting requirements related to foreign transactions that involve the family members of senior administration officials. He has aggressively pursued an investigation into foreign dealings of the president’s son Hunter Biden, most recently seeking financial records, scheduling documents and rent payments.
In his letter, Raskin criticized the committee’s actions on both fronts.
“The Committee simply cannot coordinate with former President Trump’s attorneys to obstruct a lawful subpoena investigating his demonstrated corruption, then issue an invasive and overbroad subpoena based on an investigation of the business dealings of his political rival’s son, who has never served in government,” Raskin wrote.
The statement from Comer’s spokeswoman accused Raskin of “trying to get ahead of” the Oversight Committee’s investigations into the Biden family.