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Trump’s bid to block Deutsche Bank subpoena shifts to higher court
[MANHATTAN] Congress's battle for Donald Trump's financial records shifted into one of the nation's most important courts as the president asked a federal appeals panel in Manhattan to block House Democrats from getting his records from Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp.
Mr Trump's lawyers on Tuesday filed their opening legal brief with the court, asking it to reverse a lower-court ruling that denied his request to block subpoenas from House committees to the banks.
Mr Trump claims the subpoenas seek "an enormous volume of documents, reaching back decades," requiring information about transactions by Mr Trump and his employees and children.
Mr Trump has said the subpoenas are an improper, politically motivated attempt by Democrats to fish for embarrassing material in advance of the 2020 election.
"This is not a case that simply pushes the limits of Congress's ability to compel the production of sensitive, private financial records; it is an attempt to override those limits and insulate Congress's subpoena power from any meaningful review," Mr Trump's lawyers argued in the brief.
A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit appeals court could hear arguments as early as August, in an expedited schedule set to deliver an unusually quick ruling.
The case, which may reach the US Supreme Court, will determine whether Congress wins access to at least some of the president's financial information. His appeal has delayed the banks from turning over documents.
If Mr Trump loses, Congress could learn about the family finances, gleaning insight from business and personal records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, where Mr Trump has held checking and savings accounts since at least 2015.
Mr Trump, his children Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, and his businesses sued the banks in April to block them from complying with the congressional Democrats' demands. The suit is part of a broader effort by the president to push back at House investigations as he runs for re-election next year.
Last month, US District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan denied Mr Trump's request for a preliminary injunction blocking the banks from turning over the records, saying the president, his family and his businesses were "unlikely to succeed on the merits."
Judge Ramos rejected almost all the arguments for blocking the subpoenas put forward by Mr Trump's lawyers, delivering a 25-page opinion immediately following a two-hour hearing.
In the papers filed Tuesday, Mr Trump's team criticised the ruling and argued that if Congress is permitted to enforce the subpoenas, anyone can be targeted: "an average citizen, a political opponent, even judges and law clerks hearing a case that a congressional committee deems important."
Separately, Mr Trump is asking a Washington appeals court to throw out a ruling permitting Democrats to go forward with a subpoena for records from his auditors, Mazars USA LLP. A court hearing in the Mazars case is set for July. The New York and Washington rulings gave Democrats two quick, decisive court victories in their efforts to delve into Mr Trump's finances.