Federal appeals court allows legislative subpoena of Trump’s financial records
© WikiMedia (White House)
Federal appeals court allows legislative subpoena of Trump’s financial records

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Tuesday that US House of Representatives committees may subpoena President Donald Trump’s bank records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One.

In April 11 the Committee on Financial Services and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued identical subpoenas to Deutsche Bank, seeking a broad range of financial records of Trump, members of his family and affiliated entities. On the same date, the Committee on Financial Services issued a subpoena of narrower scope to Capital One Financial Corporation. The district court denied Trump’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the banks’ compliance with the subpoenas and denied Trump’s motion for a stay pending appeal.

The Supreme Court’s precedent held that inquiry into private affairs is not always beyond the investigative power of Congress if that private affair is in relation to a valid legislative purpose. The court found that in this case, the committees’ interests concern national security and the integrity of elections, and, more specifically, enforcement of anti‐money laundering or counter‐financing of terrorism laws, terrorist financing, the movement of illicit funds through the global financial system including the real estate market, the scope of the Russian government’s operations to influence the US political process, and whether Trump was vulnerable to foreign exploitation. The court held that these are legitimate legislative purposes.

Judge Debra Livingston filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. She would have remanded the case to give the parties an opportunity to negotiate, and argued that the court’s decision runs against the Supreme Court’s instruction that the judicial branch should not interfere with a lawful exercise of the congressional authority of the legislative branch.