President Trump’s biggest lender has in its possession tax records Congress is seeking in targeting the president’s financial dealings, the bank told a federal appeals court in New York Tuesday.
The disclosure from Deutsche Bank came in response to a court order as part of a legal battle between Congress and the president over access to Trump’s business records.
The bank’s public redacted response filed Tuesday did not identify by name whose records it has.
The revelation provides new details about the pool of possible documents Congress could eventually obtain. The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees have subpoenaed the banks for years of financial documents from the president, his three eldest children and the president’s companies.
“Based on Deutsche Bank’s current knowledge and the results of the extensive searches that have already been conducted, the Bank has in its possession tax returns (in either draft or as-filed form) responsive to the Subpoenas,” the bank’s lawyers told the New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
An unredacted version of the letter, with the names of individuals or entities, was also filed under seal with the court and followed a spirited discussion during oral argument last week. Lawyers for Deutsche Bank and Capital One had refused to answer questions from a three-judge panel about whether the banks have Trump’s tax returns.
Attorneys for both banks said “contractual obligations” prevented the institutions from responding, before being directed by the judges to file a letter under seal on the issue of the returns.
In its letter Tuesday, Deutsche Bank said it was redacting the names of specific individuals from the public filing because of privacy concerns about revealing the nature of its relationship with clients.
“The Bank seeks to redact the names of specific individuals to strike an appropriate balance between compliance with the Court’s order (to which it has responded in full) and the competing client privacy considerations,” according to the letter from Washington-based attorney Raphael A. Prober.
The second bank , Capital One, told the court it does not have any tax returns responsive to the House subpoena.
Trump is appealing a ruling from a district court judge in New York who refused to block the banks from handing over the records to the two committees.
Unlike past presidents, Trump has refused to release his tax returns and has sued to try to stop the banks and his accounting firm from complying with congressional subpoenas.
In separate cases, the president is also trying to stop his accountants at Mazars from complying with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee and to shield his New York state tax returns from the House Ways and Means Committee.
At the appeals court in New York last Friday, the president’s lawyers court said the House subpoenas overstep congressional authority and are designed to embarrass the president for political purposes. The case involves the “broadest possible subpoena ever served that targets a sitting president,” Trump’s attorney Patrick Strawbridge said in court. “The real objective appears to be law enforcement” not legislative.
In a separate letter to the court Tuesday, lawyers for the House told the court that the subpoenas specifically for the president’s tax records are lawful if the banks obtained the tax returns directly from the president or were provided to the banks by the Internal Revenue Service with Trump’s consent.
The House committee leaders — Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) — want to examine the relationship between Trump and Deutsche Bank as part of a larger examination of Russian money laundering and potential foreign influence on Trump.
Deutsche Bank has been a major lender to both the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies, which previously was run by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, now a presidential adviser.