High court temporarily keeps Trump financial records private

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A U.S. Supreme Court justice temporarily blocked subpoenas that would force Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. to turn over years of President Donald Trump’s financial documents to two House committees.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put the subpoenas on hold on Friday until Dec. 13. The justices are already scheduled to discuss at a private conference that day whether to take up a separate challenge by Trump to a subpoena by a New York prosecutor for his tax returns.

The request Ginsburg acted on Friday stems from a Dec. 3 federal appeals court decision that largely rejected Trump’s contentions that lawmakers were exceeding their authority and intruding on his privacy by sending subpoenas to the banks.

The House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees are demanding financial records covering Trump, his family and his businesses. The panels say they have a variety of legislative interests, including investigations of money laundering, terrorist financing and Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections.

Earlier Friday, Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to block the subpoenas until the justices act on an appeal he says he will file.

“The committees’ desire to use the president, his family, and his businesses as a case study is not a legitimate legislative purpose,” Trump said in the filing.

Ginsburg, who handles emergency matters from New York, told the House to file its response to Trump’s request by Dec. 11.

In a separate case, Trump on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to hear his challenge to a House subpoena for financial records held by his accounting firm, Mazars USA. The court had already blocked the House subpoena to Mazars temporarily.

Impeachment probe

The cases aren’t directly tied to the ongoing House impeachment probe, which centers on Trump’s push to have Ukraine announce investigations that could help him politically. Federal appeals courts ruled against Trump in all three subpoena disputes.

Breaking with four decades of presidential tradition, Trump has declined to make his detailed financial records public. He sued in April to stop Deutsche Bank and Capital One from handing over his records after they had been subpoenaed by the House panels. Trump lost at a federal trial court and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The two subpoenas to Deutsche Bank are demanding account information for Trump, his children and their immediate families and seven Trump businesses. The subpoenas require documents dating to 2010 and in some cases with no time limit. Deutsche Bank has said it doesn’t have Trump’s personal tax returns.

Capital One, where Trump has held checking and savings accounts since at least 2015, was ordered to supply records for 15 Trump businesses, according to court papers filed by Trump’s legal team.

Deutsche Bank and Capital One aren’t taking a position in the fight.

The case is Trump v. Deutsche Bank, 19A640.

Greg Stohr
Bloomberg News
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