Skip to main content

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House, in Washington, on Dec. 2, 2019.

JONATHAN ERNST/Reuters

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday handed U.S. President Donald Trump another defeat in his bid to keep his financial records secret, directing Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp to comply with subpoenas from congressional Democrats demanding the material.

A three-judge panel of the Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against Mr. Trump’s bid to block two House of Representatives committees from enforcing subpoenas issued in April to the two banks seeking the documents. Mr. Trump is expected to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 2nd Circuit rejected Mr. Trump’s arguments that Congress lacked a valid purpose for seeking his records and that disclosure of the material would compromise his and his family’s privacy and distract the Republican president from his duties.

Story continues below advertisement

The material sought by the committees include records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Mr. Trump, his three oldest children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities.

“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,” Justice Jon Newman wrote in the ruling.

Mr. Trump had sued the two banks in an effort to prevent the disclosure of his financial records. U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled in May that the subpoenas could be enforced, prompting Mr. Trump to appeal.

“We believe the subpoenas at issue are not invalid,” said Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump. “In light of the 2nd Circuit decision, we are evaluating our next options including seeking review at the Supreme Court of the United States.”

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 conservative majority includes two justices appointed by Mr. Trump.

In separate legal cases, Mr. Trump also has sought to block House Democrats from obtaining his tax and financial records from his long-time accounting firm.

The subpoenas involved in Tuesday’s ruling were issued months before House Democrats began an inquiry in September into whether there were grounds to impeach Mr. Trump over his request to Ukraine to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Trump, running for re-election in 2020, has fought hard to keep his financial and tax records private. He broke with tradition by not releasing his tax returns as a candidate in 2016 and as President.

A PRINCIPAL LENDER

Germany’s Deutsche Bank has long been a principal lender for Mr. Trump’s real estate business. A 2017 disclosure form showed that Mr. Trump had at least US$130-million of liabilities to the bank.

“As we have said previously, we remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations,” a Deutsche Bank spokesman said of Tuesday’s decision.

Capital One did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The House Financial Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records related to Mr. Trump, three of his children and the Trump Organization. Lawmakers have said the requests are part of a wider investigation into money laundering and foreign influence over U.S. politics.

The Financial Services Committee subpoenaed Virginia-based Capital One, seeking records related to the Trump Organization’s hotel business.

Story continues below advertisement

The two banks have said the records involved in the case do not include Mr. Trump’s tax returns.

Congressional investigators have already identified possible failures in Deutsche Bank’s money laundering controls in its dealings with Russian oligarchs, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Judge Debra Ann Livingston dissented from the ruling, saying Mr. Trump and his family raised “serious constitutional questions” about congressional authority to enforce “deeply troubling” subpoenas seeking “voluminous” financial records, and deserved a chance to object to disclosure of more sensitive materials.

Newman was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat. Livingston was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican. Newman was joined in the ruling by Judge Peter Hall, a Bush appointee.

The Supreme Court as soon as Dec. 13 will decide whether to hear Mr. Trump’s appeal of lower court rulings that directed Mazars LLP, his accounting firm, to provide local prosecutors in New York Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018 as part of a criminal investigation.

Mr. Trump also is due to file to the Supreme Court by Thursday his appeal of a court ruling in Washington directing Mazars to turn over his financial records to the House Oversight Committee. The Supreme Court last week put the lower court ruling on hold to give Mr. Trump time to appeal.

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies