House Democrats made significant headway toward finding out what Donald Trump has been hiding in his tax returns Wednesday, as a federal judge in New York City rejected the president’s request to bar Deutsche Bank and Capital One from honoring a congressional subpoena for his financial records.
Trump, his three eldest children, and their companies had argued in court that the Democrats’ subpoenas lacked “any legislative purpose” and violated the Right to Financial Privacy Act. The House committee that issued the subpoenas countered that Trump’s records were needed for “wide-ranging investigations of issues bearing upon the integrity of the U.S. financial system and national security, including bank fraud, money laundering, foreign influence in the U.S. political process, and the counterintelligence risks posed by foreign powers’ use of financial leverage” — and that the Right to Financial Privacy Act does not apply to Congress.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos favored the Democrats’ argument.
If the ruling is not overturned by a higher court, Democrats will secure access to records of the myriad accounts Trump and his family have held with Deutsche Bank as well as information about transactions and investments they made with the bank’s help. The subpoena of Capital One, meanwhile, will yield records on the Trump Organization’s hotel business, which Democrats hope to scour for any signs of conflicts of interest that might be informing the president’s policies.
Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank has long been a source of avid interest among congressional and media investigators. The German firm has been Trump’s main lender for years, loaning him and his businesses more than $2 billion even as other banks refused to work with the bankruptcy-prone mogul. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Deutsche’s internal anti-money-laundering watchdogs had flagged multiple transactions involving entities owned by Trump and Jared Kushner as “suspicious.”
Wednesday’s decision comes two days after a similar ruling in a fight over Trump’s records with the accounting firm Mazars USA. On Monday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., refused to block a subpoena into eight years of the president’s records with Mazars, ruling that the public interest in “maximizing the effectiveness of the investigatory powers of Congress” overwhelmed Trump’s concerns about the adverse impact the records may have on himself and his businesses.