Another Appeals Court Backs House Subpoena For Trump Financial Records

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18 : President Donald J. Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump, speaks on a phone call to congratulate astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir during the first all-w... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18 : President Donald J. Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump, speaks on a phone call to congratulate astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir during the first all-woman spacewalk, from the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Friday, Oct 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. This is the first time since the 1969 Moon landing that a sitting president spoke directly to astronauts while they were outside of a spacecraft. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS
December 3, 2019 10:21 a.m.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected Tuesday President Trump’s attempt to block House subpoenas of Deutsche Bank and Capitol One for his, his family’s and his business’s financial records.

The 2-1 appeals court order largely backed a district court’s previous decision allowing enforcement of the subpoena. The appeals court, however, issued a very narrow directive to the district court setting up a process allowing for the non-disclosure of sensitive personal details in the records. The appeals also said another category of subpoenaed documents may be excludable, and set up a process for handling that.

The rest of the documents requested by the House “shall be promptly transmitted to the Committees in daily batches as they are assembled, beginning seven days from the date of this opinion,” the court said.

The seven days, the appeals court said, would afford Trump the time to seek Supreme Court review.

In a statement, Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow said that “we are evaluating our next options including seeking review at the Supreme Court of the United States.“

“We believe the subpoena is invalid as issued,” he said.

Tuesday’s decision is the latest loss in court Trump has suffered in trying to shield his financial records from scrutiny. The Supreme Court is currently weighing how to handle two other cases where appeals courts have upheld subpoenas of Trump’s accounting firm for his tax returns.

In the Deutsche Bank case, Trump was fighting the subpoena in his personal capacity, but the Department of Justice filed a friend-of-the-court brief largely aligned with his position.

The appeals court on Tuesday said that the subpoenas “easily pass” the test laid out by the Supreme Court requiring congressional subpoenas to be “not plainly incompetent or irrelevant to any lawful purpose [of a committee] in the discharge of its duties.”

“The subpoenas are reasonably framed to aid the Committees in fulfilling their responsibilities to conduct oversight as to the effectiveness of agencies administering statutes within the Committees’ jurisdiction and to obtain information appropriate for consideration of the need for new legislation,” the appeals court said.

The subpoenas were issued by the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees on April 15, with Trump suing to block the banks’ compliance two weeks later.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos denied Trump’s request for a preliminary injunction on May 22, in an opinion that called the lawsuit “not serious.”

Read the opinion below:

Josh Kovensky contributed reporting.

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