Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Banks Can Hand Trump Financial Records to House Democrats, Court Rules

Banks Can Hand Trump Financial Records to House Democrats, Court Rules

Two banks must turn over President Donald Trump's financial records to the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives, dealing another blow to the President's efforts to block Congress' move to obtain his financial records, a federal appeals court in NY ruled Tuesday.

The ruling came after the House Financial Services and the House Intelligence Committee sought records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One in connecting to Mr. Trump and his family. The lawyers for the congressional committees say they need access to documents from the banks to investigate possible "foreign influence in the US political process" and possible money laundering from overseas.

A three-judge panel of the Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Trump's bid to block two House of Representatives committees from enforcing subpoenas to the two banks seeking the documents.

"The Supreme Court has said that a high degree of deference should be accorded to actions taken exclusively by Congress", the court's opinion said.

The third judge on the 2nd Circuit panel, Debra Ann Livingston, issued a separate opinion in which she dissented in part.

President Donald Trump arrives at the White House in Washington, Nov. 25, 2019.

An attorney for Trump did not immediately return a request for comment, though his legal team is likely to swiftly appeal the decision, as he's done in the past.

The ruling by the appeals court upheld a May ruling by U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, who had said Trump and his company were unlikely to succeed in proving that the subpoenas were unlawful and unconstitutional.

A separate three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit also unanimously rejected Trump's effort to block NY grand jury subpoenas for his eight years of Trump's tax returns from his accounting firm. It notes, among other things, that the congressional committees' "interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest than whatever public interest inheres in avoiding the risk of a Chief Executive's distraction arising from disclosure of documents reflecting his private financial transactions".

"In light of the Second Circuit decision, we are evaluating our next options including seeking review at the Supreme Court of the United States", Sekulow said in a statement. Trump's attorneys had argued that the committees are pushing the boundaries of their powers to embarrass the president and that their subpoenas serve no legislative objective. A 2017 disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to the bank.

"As we have said previously, we remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorised investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations", a Deutsche Bank spokesman said of Tuesday's decision. "Moreover, the public interest strongly supports allowing Deutsche Bank and Capital One to comply with the House's subpoenas because, as Judge Newman rightly recognized, "t$3 he public interest in vindicating the Committees' constitutional authority is clear and substantial".

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