Sunday, 26 January, 2020

Appeals Court: Deutsche Bank Must Turn Over Trump Financial Records to Democrats

Trump Loses Appeal Over Lawmakers’ Deutsche Bank Subpoenas Appeals Court: Deutsche Bank Must Turn Over Trump Financial Records to Democrats
Deanna Wagner | 03 December, 2019, 21:40

A federal appeals court in NY on Tuesday upheld the legality of congressional subpoenas seeking President Donald Trump's banking records but said sensitive personal information should be protected.

Lawyers for the House committees, both of which are controlled by Democrats, 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. Lawmakers have said the requests are part of a wider probe into money laundering and foreign influence over US politics.

A panel of 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges said two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One, should comply with subpoenas from the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees seeking records related to Trump's business ventures.

"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 court said Congress was acting within its constitutional authority to investigate a series of significant issues, including whether Trump was "vulnerable to foreign exploitation".

"Without reviewing the requested return materials, the committee can not ensure that the IRS's audit process is functioning fairly and effectively, understand how provisions of the tax code are implicated by President Trump's returns, or exercise its legislative judgment to determine whether changes to the code may be warranted", it added. She would not have ordered immediate disclosure and instead would have sent the entire case back to the lower court for in-depth review of the information requested.

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Trump has a week to appeal the federal appeals court's decision. Last month, the federal appeals court in Washington let stand an earlier ruling against the president, affirming that Congress can seek eight years of Trump's tax records.

Two appeals courts have already ruled that he must make documents available, including information held by the accountancy firm Mazars USA, but decisions are pending in the Supreme Court. The panel ruled that "any presidential immunity from a state criminal process does not bar the enforcement of such subpoena", according to the opinion written by Chief Judge Robert Katzmann.

The order was stayed for seven days so that Trump's lawyers could apply to the Supreme Court for an extension of the stay.

The appeals court said Tuesday that the banks must begin turning over most of the documents in daily batches beginning in one week.

Deutsche Bank, a German banking giant, has been a major lender to both the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies, which previously was run by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, now a presidential adviser. A 2017 disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to the bank.