News Orgs Push Court To Reveal Full Deutsche Bank Letter About Trump Tax Returns

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on tax policy with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on tax policy with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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September 11, 2019 1:17 p.m.
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One thread in the sprawling series of mysteries around the President’s tax returns has a new shot at being resolved.

A group of media organizations are seeking to intervene in President Trump’s bid to halt subpoenas for financial records from two of his longtime banks. At the center of the effort is a letter filed under seal by Deutsche Bank last month in which the bank stated that it had records relevant to subpoenas issued by congressional committees investigating the President’s financial history.

The redacted version of that letter filed publicly hid the portion about whether the bank had returns for Trump himself, or those of his immediate family members or related entities.

Now, the news organizations are asking a Manhattan federal appeals court to unseal the unredacted version of the letter where Deutsche said whose tax returns it possesses.

Trump, through a personal attorney, sued to quash subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees for years of his financial records in April. But at oral arguments before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in August, the judges directed their attention away from attorneys for Trump and the House and towards the two banks who received the subpoenas – Deutsche and Capitol One.

Judges asked attorneys for the two banks whether they had copies of Trump’s returns, but neither would say. They eventually agreed to send a letter to the appeals court saying whether they had the records.

Capitol One, which provided deposit banking services to the Trump family, told the court that it did not have the records.

But Deutsche, which is expected to have copies of Trump’s personal returns, cited extensive banking privacy concerns in its reasoning for redacting the names of the people whose returns it possesses.

“There is no genuine privacy concern implicated by Deutsche Bank confirming what is already widely understood—that it has copies of certain of the President’s or his affiliates’ financial records,” the news organizations’ court filing reads. “But it would set a disturbing precedent to allow redactions of such rudimentary facts to go unchallenged, particularly in a case involving a sitting president.”

The case is one avenue by which Congress has sought Trump’s tax returns, which he has withheld in a breach of practice from presidents dating back to Gerald Ford. The House Ways and Means Committee is currently bogged down in a lawsuit against the Trump administration, seeing to force it to comply with a request the panel made for six years of the President’s returns.

Read the motion here:

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