Court deals blow to Trump’s bid to keep financial records from Congress

By Victoria Guida

President Donald Trump suffered another loss Tuesday in his effort to block House Democrats from obtaining his financial records, a matter that is now likely to make its way to the Supreme Court.

A federal appeals court in New York ruled 2-1 that Deutsche Bank and Capital One should comply with subpoenas from the House Financial Services and House Intelligence committees seeking information about Trump’s finances, upholding a decision by a federal court in May.

The subpoenas seek documents including tax returns, evidence of suspicious activity and, in the case of Deutsche Bank, any internal communications regarding Trump and his ties to foreign individuals.

Democrats are now one step closer to obtaining that information, even as they move ahead quickly with impeachment proceedings centered on the president’s interactions with Ukraine.

“The 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,” the 2nd Circuit panel said in its ruling.

Trump now has seven days to seek emergency relief from the Supreme Court, and the 2nd Circuit is ordering a process that will allow the president to object to specific items, like checks, that may be particularly personal and explain why those should be excluded.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, said the president is considering an appeal.

“We believe the subpoena is invalid as issued,” Sekulow said in a statement. "In light of the Second Circuit decision, we are evaluating our next options including seeking review at the Supreme Court of the United States.”

The Supreme Court will separately have to decide whether to take up two cases involving one of Trump’s accounting firms, Mazars, which earlier this year received a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee for the president's financial records. For the time being, the court has put a pause on a lower court ruling that had favored Congress.

Trump’s legal team has also petitioned the high court to review a federal appeals court ruling that Mazars must turn over the president’s tax returns to a Manhattan grand jury.

Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called the ruling “another in a long line of decisions strongly affirming ‘a broad power of Congress and its committees to obtain information in aid of its legislative authority under Article I of the Constitution.’”

“This ruling ensures that a significant amount of the materials sought by our Committees will continue to be produced,” they said. “We believe that the court’s remand for limited document review will not result in the withholding of material related to our valid legislative purposes, and we are hopeful that it will be concluded in an expeditious fashion.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the ruling as “another victory for the rule of law, our Constitution and our American Democracy.”

Darren Samuelsohn contributed to this report.