Deutsche Bank, Capital One refuse to admit if they have Trump’s tax returns
A lawyer for Deutsche Bank is refusing to say whether or not his institution has President Trump’s tax returns — despite repeated questioning by a three-judge panel — as Trump continues his fight to quash congressional subpoenas seeking 10 years of financial records for him and his family.
“Does the bank have the tax returns?” United States Circuit Judge Jon Newman, of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, asked Deutsche Bank lawyer Raphael Prober Friday.
“That unfortunately is not a question we’re able to address,” Prober responded, kicking off a back and forth in which the panel repeatedly asked him to answer the question, and he repeatedly declined. Capital One lawyer James Murphy also refused to answer the question.
An exasperated Judge Peter Hall finally asked, sarcastically: “If we want an answer to that question, do we have to go to a court and seek an order?”
“If you do them, we have to worry about them,” Hall said.
The panel finally decided it would give the lawyers 48 hours to file a letter under seal stating whether they were in possession of the long-sought documents — though both Prober and Murphy remained unclear on whether they would actually answer the question in their submission.
The sparring followed morning arguments between a Justice Department lawyer and the general counsel to the United States House of Representatives, as Trump continues his attempts to keep Deutsche Bank and Capital One from releasing personal financial records belonging to him, his businesses and his family.
DOJ attorney Patrick Strawbridge argued that Congress had overstepped its boundaries and moved into law enforcement territory, calling this “the broadest possible subpoena ever served that targets a sitting president.”
“The real object does appear to be law enforcement,” Strawbridge told the panel. “I do not think they have the legitimate legislative purpose that validate these subpoenas.”
He went on to say that legislators didn’t need 10 years of records in order to see “every Diet Coke that a teenager bought using a credit card from Capitol One.”
Meanwhile, general counsel Douglas Letter said that Congress needed that many records to determine “how the money is flowing and why the money is flowing.”
“We’re trying to figure out if Mr. Trump is under the influence of the Saudis or the Russians,” Letter said.
The panel declined to immediately rule.
Friday’s arguments stemmed from Trump’s appeal of a lower court’s decision that would allow Deutsche bank and Capital One to turn over 10 years of financial documents related to Trump, his three eldest children and two of his businesses.
Trump personally sued the banks to keep the information secret after they were served Congressional subpoenas demanding the documents.
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