Trump loses bid to block banks from providing family's business records to Democratic lawmakers
(Adds congressional committees agree not to enforce subpoenas
for seven days, paragraph 3; Deutsche Bank spokeswoman,
By Brendan Pierson
NEW YORK, May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump,
three of his children and the Trump Organization on Wednesday
lost their bid to block Deutsche Bank AG and Capital
One Financial Corp from providing financial records to
Democratic lawmakers investigating Trump's businesses.
In a decision read from the bench after hearing arguments,
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in New York said that Congress
has the legal authority to demand the records, clearing the way
for the banks to comply with subpoenas issued to them by two
U.S. House of Representatives committees last month.
The committees have agreed not to enforce the subpoenas for
seven days, the judge said. It was the second time in three days
that a judge had ruled against the Republican president in his
fight with Democrats and Trump's lawyers were expected to appeal
Ramos said he would not suspend his decision pending appeal.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for
comment. Deutsche Bank said it would abide by the court's
decision. Capital One did not immediately respond to a request
Republican Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has
aggressively sought to defy congressional oversight of his
administration since Democrats took control of the House in
Ramos said that the committees had the power to issue the
subpoenas under Congress' "broad" power to conduct
investigations to further legislation. He also rejected Trump's
argument that they were barred by a federal financial privacy
law, the Right to Financial Privacy Act, saying the law does not
apply to congressional investigations.
Trump said last month that the administration was "fighting
all the subpoenas" issued by the House, hardening his position
after the release of a redacted report from Special Counsel
Robert Mueller on how Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S.
election to help Trump and the president's attempts to impede
"We remain committed to providing appropriate information to
all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order
regarding such investigations," Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Kerrie
McHugh said in an emailed statement after the ruling.
Lawyers for the Trump family members and the Trump
Organization declined to comment on the decision.
Some parts of the subpoenas have been included in court
filings. The subpoena on Deutsche Bank seeks extensive records
of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump, his
three oldest children, their immediate family members and
several Trump Organization entities, as well as records of ties
they might have to foreign entities.
Deutsche Bank has long been a principal lender for Trump's
real estate business and a 2017 disclosure form showed that
Trump had at least $130 million of liabilities to the bank.
The subpoena on Capital One seeks records related to
multiple entities tied to the Trump Organization's hotel
business. In March, before issuing their subpoena, Democratic
lawmakers asked Capital One for documents concerning potential
conflicts of interest tied to Trump's Washington hotel and other
business interests since he became president in January 2017.
Trump, his adult children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, and
the Trump Organization had sought a preliminary injunction to
prevent Deutsche Bank complying with the subpoenas from the
House Financial Services Committee and the House Intelligence
Committee, and Capital One from complying with a subpoena from
the Financial Services Committee.
In a lawsuit filed on April 29, lawyers for the Trumps
argued that the subpoenas were too broad, and that Democrats are
hoping they will "stumble upon something" that could be used for
political attacks on the president.
"The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J.
Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances,
his businesses, and the private information of the President and
his family," the complaint said.
The banks are the only defendants in the case, but the House
committees intervened to oppose Trump's effort to block the
Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial
Services Committee, told reporters after the lawsuit was filed
that Trump had "cast a gauntlet." "We will fight him," she said.
On Monday, a federal judge in Washington ruled against the
president in a similar case, finding that Trump's accounting
firm, Mazars LLP, must comply with a congressional subpoena for
Trump's financial records.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta found that Congress was "not
engaged in a fishing expedition for the President's financial
records when it subpoenaed Mazars and said that documents
obtained might assist Congress in passing laws and performing
other core functions.
Trump called Mehta's decision "crazy" and "totally the wrong
decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge," referring to
Trump's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama. Ramos, the judge
in the New York case, was also appointed by Obama.
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; additional reporting
by Matt Scuffham in New York and Jeff Mason in Washington;
Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)
First Published: 2019-05-22 12:00:00
Updated 2019-05-22 22:59:24
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