While Democrats eager to investigate President Trump’s financial records have struggled to win cooperation from the White House, their battle has shifted to the courts.
A U.S. District judge in New York is refusing to block subpoenas from the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees that are demanding access to Trump’s bank records at Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled on Wednesday that the banks can turn over the requested financial records to Congress.
Attorneys for the congressional committees have argued that they need access to Trump’s bank records in order to investigate the possibility of “foreign influence in the U.S. political process.” Congressional investigations have been seeking information about President Trump’s potential business interests in Russia. Deutsche Bank, in particular, is known to have lent Trump’s real estate company millions of dollars over the years.
Trump’s lawyers have argued that the demands from the congressional committees “lack a legitimate legislative purpose.” However, Judge Ramos felt the subpoenas were “undeniably broad but are clearly pertinent” to the task of investigating alleged interference in U.S. elections.
Judge Ramos ruled after hearing oral arguments on Wednesday morning.
The House Financial Services Committee has issued subpoenas to nine banks and financial institutions in total. TD Bank and Wells Fargo have already complied by sharing information about their dealings with the Trump Organization.
Wednesday’s Ruling Is the Second Such Ruling Against Trump This Week
Judge Ramos’s ruling in New York follows a similar ruling by a U.S. District Judge in Washington, on Monday. Judge Amit Mehta ruled against President Trump and his legal team when he declared that a subpoena issued by The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that seeks Trump’s financial records from the accounting firm Mazars is also valid.
In his ruling, Mehta stated, “It is not for the court to question whether the committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations. …To be sure, there are limits on Congress’s investigative authority. But those limits do not substantially constrain Congress.”
Trump’s lawyers quickly appealed the Washington district court’s decision on Tuesday.