Trump has asked the high court to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York that upheld Congress’s broad investigative authority, and ordered Deutsche Bank and Capital One to comply with House subpoenas for the president’s financial information.
It is one of three similar cases awaiting Supreme Court action, which could come as soon as Friday. Trump and his personal lawyers have asked the justices to accept the cases for formal briefing and a decision this term, saying they present potentially landmark questions about the separation of government powers.
Lower courts have ruled that another House committee and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. have a right to financial and personal records maintained by Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA.
Letter and Vance have told the Supreme Court that the decisions do not break any new legal ground and that the high court’s review is unwarranted. They have urged the justices to let the rulings go into effect so that prosecutors and members of Congress can do their jobs.
“It cannot be the case that the president has the right to stall any congressional subpoena to which he objects through the months or years” of legal battles, Letter said in Wednesday’s filing. “If that were true, the House — which has only a two-year term — would be severely constrained in its ability to conduct oversight or to collect information relating to the executive branch.”
In the Deutsche Bank case, the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees are seeking more than 10 years of financial records on Trump, his three oldest children — Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump — and the president’s businesses.
The committees say they need the records as part of broad investigations into Russian money laundering and potential foreign influence involving Trump.
Trump’s attorneys have argued the committees’ moves are simply to harass the president and would serve no legislative purpose. The subpoenas could yield every debit card transaction and check written by Trump, his children and even his grandchildren, they said.
The investigations by Vance and the House Oversight and Reform Committee began following allegations that Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen made hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump years prior. The president has denied the allegations. Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence for financial crimes and lying to Congress.
While Trump’s lawyers have said the cases raise fundamental questions that require Supreme Court attention, Letter said the lower courts found they were easily answered by precedent. They are no separation-of-powers questions for the high court to weigh, he said.
“The committees have not requested any documents pertaining to the official functions of the executive branch,” he wrote. “Nor have they sought to require the president, his family, or any member of the executive branch to take any action. Instead, they issued subpoenas to financial institutions seeking non-privileged records maintained in the ordinary course of business.”