President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on May 16. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on May 16. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Judge refuses to block subpoenas seeking Trump’s bank records

Although he did say that records released publicly could cause the president irreparable harm.

By Larry Neumeister / Associated Press

NEW YORK — A New York judge refused Wednesday to block congressional subpoenas seeking financial records from two banks that did business with President Donald Trump, making it clear it wasn’t a close call.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos said in a ruling delivered from the bench that Trump and his company were “highly unlikely” to succeed in a lawsuit arguing that the subpoenas seeking records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One were unlawful and unconstitutional.

Ramos also concluded that the subpoenas have “a legitimate legislative purpose” and dismissed one-by-one arguments made to try to bury them, though he conceded that records released publicly could cause Trump and his family irreparable harm.

The lawyers for the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees say they need access to documents from the banks to investigate possible “foreign influence in the U.S. political process” and possible money laundering from abroad.

Deutsche Bank has lent Trump’s real estate company millions of dollars over the years.

When Ramos finished reading aloud a lengthy ruling, he asked Trump’s lawyer, Patrick Strawbridge, if he would appeal.

“That’s probably a safe bet,” Strawbridge responded.

The judge then noted that both sides had agreed that the subpoenas would not require a response for another week, giving Trump, his family and his companies time to appeal.

The hearing falls two days after a federal judge in Washington ruled against Trump in a similar case, finding that the president cannot block a House subpoena for information from a financial services firm that had done accounting work for him and the Trump Organization.

And it comes a day after Trump blocked his former White House lawyer, Don McGahn, from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

In a written submission prior to Wednesday’s hearing, lawyers for two congressional committees wrote that Trump’s effort to block the subpoenas was “flatly inconsistent with nearly a century of Supreme Court precedent.”

Attorney Douglas Letter cited some of those rulings when he argued before Ramos on Wednesday that Trump should not be able to block “a very major complex investigation across a whole industry, not just Mr. Trump.”

He said there were about 10 subpoenas sent to individuals or entities that have “nothing to do with Mr. Trump.”

Letter said there is a “massive fundamental misunderstanding by Mr. Trump about Congress … that we’re a nuisance and we can’t investigate him.”

In court papers, lawyers said the House’s Committee on Financial Services and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence sought the information as they investigate “serious and urgent questions concerning the safety of banking practices, money laundering in the financial sector, foreign influence in the U.S. political process, and the threat of foreign financial leverage, including over the president, his family and his business.”

Lawyers for Trump responded in writing that accepting the view of the committees would mean “Congress can issue a subpoena on any matter, at any time, for any reason, to any person, and there is basically nothing a federal court can do about it.”

Trump’s lawyers had asked the judge to temporarily block Congress from obtaining the records.

The banks took no position in the dispute.

The ruling is the second blow in New York on Wednesday to the privacy of Trump’s financial details. State lawmakers earlier passed a measure that would allow the president’s tax returns to be released to congressional committees.

Talk to us

More in Nation-World

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States

The new president vowed to heal and unite a nation in crisis.

President-elect Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff arrive at the steps of the U.S. Capitol for the start of the official inauguration ceremonies, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Watch the presidential inauguration here

Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath to Biden; Justice Sonya Sotomayor swore in Harris.

Members of the Washington National Guard stand at a sundial near the Legislative Building, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Governors in some states have called out the National Guard, declared states of emergency and closed their capitols over concerns about potentially violent protests. Though details remain murky, demonstrations are expected at state capitols beginning Sunday and leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington National Guard members activated for inauguration

The extra security comes in the wake of the insurgence at the U.S. Capitol last week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., displays the signed article of impeachment against President Donald Trump in an engrossment ceremony before transmission to the Senate for trial on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge

Ten Republicans fled the president, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable.

An American flag flies over the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
After excusing violence, Trump acknowledges Biden transition

A number of White House aides were discussing potential mass resignations before Trump’s term ends.

Nashville Chief of Police John Drake speaks at a news conference Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Drake spoke before five officers told what they experienced when an explosion took place in downtown Nashville early Christmas morning. The officers are part of a group of six officers credited with evacuating people before the explosion happened. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Suspect in Nashville explosion died, feds say

Police officers provided harrowing details of responding to the Christmas morning bombing.

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Portage, Mich., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)
COVID-19 vaccine shipments begin in historic US effort

The first of two shots are expected to be given to health care workers and nursing home residents.

A passenger aircraft at Ciudad Real International Airport in Ciudad Real, Spain, on Oct. 27, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Paul Hanna.
Airlines face ‘mission of the century’ in shipping vaccines

Cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, bikes and even donkeys may be needed to get the drug to rural areas.

FILE - Election workers, right, verify ballots as recount observers, left, watch during a Milwaukee hand recount of presidential votes at the Wisconsin Center, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, in Milwaukee. Wisconsin finished a partial recount of its presidential results on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 confirming Democrat Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump in the key battleground state. Trump vowed to challenge the outcome in court. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Completed Wisconsin recount confirms Biden’s win over Trump

Dane County was the second and last county to finish its recount, reporting a 45-vote gain for Trump.

FILE - This Nov. 18, 2020, file photo provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety shows a metal monolith in the ground in a remote area of red rock in Utah. The mysterious silver monolith that was placed in the Utah desert has disappeared less than 10 days after it was spotted by wildlife biologists performing a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep, federal officials and witnesses said. The Bureau of Land Management said it had received credible reports that the three-sided stainless steel structure was removed on Nov. 27.  (Utah Department of Public Safety via AP, File)
Mysterious silver monolith disappears from Utah desert

It vanished less than 10 days after it was spotted by wildlife biologists from a helicopter.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a news conference with the coronavirus task force at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Fauci: US may see ‘surge upon surge’ of virus in weeks ahead

He does not expect current recommendations around social distancing to be relaxed before Christmas.

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 20, 2017 file photo a Boing 737 MAX 9 airplane performs a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget, east of Paris, France. Europe’s aviation regulator has taken a step closer to letting the Boeing 737 Max fly again. It published a proposed airworthiness directive on Tuesday that could see it clear the aircraft within weeks to resume flying after nearly two years and a pair of deadly crashes. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, file)
European regulator moves to clear Boeing 737 for flight

The move comes after the FAA already cleared the Boeing 737 Max earlier this month.