NEW YORK — A federal judge failed to properly scrutinize congressional subpoenas for President Trump’s banking records before rejecting the president’s request that the inquiries be blocked, Trump’s attorneys argued Tuesday in an appeal.
The 54-page appeal filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit challenges a decision last month by U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos that cleared the way for Deutsche Bank, the president’s biggest creditor, and Capital One to hand over years of financial records from Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization to two House committees.
“By abdicating its obligation to scrutinize the actual purpose of the subpoenas … the district court has embraced a standard so deferential as to lack any limit whatsoever,” the appeal states.
The case is part of an escalating battle between Trump and congressional Democrats over access to the president’s financial records that could drag on for months. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that aired Sunday evening, Trump said that “at some point” he might release his “financial statement.” “It’s a fantastic financial statement,” he said. But, he added, “they should be after everyone else’s financial statement.”
Trump’s attorneys argued in the appeal that the committees were pushing the boundaries of their powers and that the subpoenas didn’t serve a legitimate legislative purpose. “The Committees’ subpoenas are sweeping and unprecedented attempts to obtain the private financial information of a sitting President,” the appeal said.
Attorneys for the House committees have said that the subpoenas are part of a larger investigation and that lawmakers were well within their rights to request the information.
In his ruling, Ramos rejected Trump’s motion for a preliminary injunction, noting that the president and his family “are unlikely to succeed on merits of their claims."
The subpoenas, filed by the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees, are currently on hold pending the outcome of the appeal.
Some Senate Democrats have also started to apply more pressure on Deutsche Bank, which has been a major lender to both the Trump Organization and Kushner Cos., which previously was run by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who now is a senior adviser to the president.
Earlier this month, Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee wrote to the Federal Reserve requesting it probe whistleblower allegations, first reported by the New York Times, that Deutsche Bank buried suspicious activity from accounts associated with Trump and Kushner.