House Gets Approval to Defend Trump Bank Subpoenas in Court

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. House of Representatives can defend its subpoenas for Donald Trump’s bank records in a lawsuit the president filed against Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. to prevent the disclosures.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan on Friday granted the lawmakers’ request to allow them into the case.

Trump, his three eldest children -- Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka -- and several of his companies sued Monday, asking the judge to block the banks from turning over records related to the president, his family and their businesses. The Trumps claim the subpoenas by the Democrat-controlled House are an improper attempt to dig up embarrassing material for political purposes.

The House wasn’t named in the Trump lawsuit, so attorneys for the lawmakers asked Ramos to allow them into the case. Deutsche Bank and Capital One have said they are prepared to hand over the records unless ordered not to by a court.

The Trumps had asked for an emergency order to block the delivery. The original deadline was May 6 but the House agreed to postpone it until seven days after the judge rules on the Trumps’ request for the order. That allows Ramos to hold a hearing on May 22 and would give the Trumps time to appeal.

The court fight over the subpoenas is part of a broader conflict in which the White House is delaying compliance with congressional demands for evidence and testimony, or simply refusing to cooperate. Legal experts said the strategy is questionable, but that the Trump administration may be satisfied with delaying compliance until after the 2020 election.

Trump’s lawyers are seeking to get copies of the subpoenas from the banks, which House lawyers refused to provide. Deutsche Bank and Capital One have provided Trump and his children with descriptions of the subpoenas, which the president’s lawyers claim are overly broad.

House Democrats are demanding the records from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and seven other banks as part of a probe of Trump’s finances and potential money laundering tied to Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Deutsche Bank has been a particular target because it has lent some $340 million to Trump.

The Deutsche Bank subpoena was issued by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which said it’s part of an "investigations into efforts by Russia and other foreign entities to influence the U.S. political process during and since the 2016 election."

The committee said in Friday’s filing that it’s probing foreign financial leverage over Trump, his businesses and family.

The House Committee on Financial Services issued the Capital One subpoena. It said it is investigating "the adequacy of existing policies and programs at financial institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of lending practices."

The case is similar to one Trump filed last week in Washington to block Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, from getting records held by Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA LLP. The Washington court permitted that committee’s request to join the Mazars case.

The new case is Trump v. Deutsche Bank, 19-cv-03826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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