2nd judge refuses to block House subpoenas for Trump bank records

Posted at 6:51 PM, May 22, 2019

A second federal judge has now rebuffed President Donald Trump's sweeping attempt to block House lawmakers from accessing his financial records, handing him another defeat in a fight that has infuriated the President and opened deep rifts with Democrats.

Judge Edgardo Ramos in New York on Wednesday refused to block subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services panels for Trump's financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One . It's the second such ruling against the President in three days.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump lashed out at Democrats for what he claimed were attempts to harass and undermine his presidency, declaring during an irate appearance in the Rose Garden he could no longer work with them as they proceed in their investigations.

The White House has stonewalled Democratic oversight requests, has refused to comply with subpoenas issued for information and is blocking former officials from testifying.

Part of the strategy is to prompt a drawn-out legal battle. But the new ruling is a second major setback.

Ramos's decision starts a one-week clock for Trump's legal team to fight a way to hold off the banks from handing over decades or more of extensive information about Trump, his businesses and his family members, including White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Earlier this week, Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, DC, said Trump's former accounting firm Mazars would have to comply with a subpoena from Congress . Trump's legal team appealed on Tuesday , and the parties have agreed on an expedited briefing and hearing schedule that awaits signoff from an appeals court judge.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she was "very excited" by the outcome.

"Very excited, no surprise," Pelosi told reporters. "Two in one week. Mazars Monday, Deutsche Bank today."

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings told reporters the latest ruling "definitely" helps his committee's case with its subpoena to Mazars.

"We now have two opinions. I think we're going to have more," Cummings said. "Clearly I think the courts are going to uphold the rule of law."

In reaction to the court ruling against the President and his company, Trump Organization lawyer Marc Mukasey said, "Fight on."

Reading his 25-page opinion from the bench after a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Ramos said the House committees seeking Trump's financial information have legitimate legislative purposes.

The subpoenas are broad, he said, but they are "clearly pertinent" to Congress' work.

These subpoenas "do not constitute impermissible law enforcement activities," he said, adding that he believes lawmakers should receive the documents quickly.

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The two court cases over House subpoenas, running closely in tandem, represent a major attempt by Trump to prevent Congress from reaching his personal and business records. The House has also requested Trump's tax returns from the IRS, and Democrats in the House and the Senate are pursuing another court case that may allow them to look into the President's business records for signs of foreign influence.

In the New York case, the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees requested a large swath of Trump family and business records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One bank in April, saying they need the records to consider banking policy revisions and to investigate the President's financial tangles with foreign powers, such as Russia.

Trump's private legal team argues that the records requests violate his and his family's privacy and have no legislative purpose.