New York, Washington For months now, US President Donald Trump has been fighting to ensure that detailed information about his finances does not fall into the hands of Congressmen. Now he has suffered a new setback. An appeals court ruled Tuesday that Deutsche Bank and Capital One must release Trump's finances documents to two committees in the House of Representatives.
The Finance and Intelligence Committees had requested the documents from the banks to gain new insights in their investigations into Trump's business practices. But Trump complained against the demand of democratically led committees, which delayed the publication by months.
The role of committees in exercising their constitutional function "is of much more important public interest" than the disadvantage that Trump could incur in disclosing its private financial information, the court said.
For the Democrats around Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff this is an important partial success. It is already the second court that has decided in their favor. But they are not there yet. The court gave Trump seven days on Tuesday to appeal again. Observers assume that he will do this. That would give him time again.
The next instance is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court would then first have to decide whether it will accept the case at all. That would happen according to industry experts in the coming spring. The chances of the Supreme Court taking on the case are slim. But if they do that, a decision is expected next fall, just before the US presidential election. "We're watching all our options right now, including going to the Supreme Court," Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow said.
Trump's lawyers argued that the demands for submission of his financial information were unjustified and motivated solely by political intentions.
Also case in New York pending
Deutsche Bank is neutral in the legal dispute. The house bank of Donald Trump, his family and business "cooperates with all authorized investigations and will comply with a court decision in connection with such investigations," said a spokesman in New York.
In another case last week, the Supreme Court had blocked the release of Trump's tax records by interim injunction to give the court time to examine the substance of the case. The Board of Trustees of the House of Representatives had requested the documents of Trump's accountancy firm for a period of eight years under penalty of punishment, so called Subpoena. At the beginning of November, an appeals court in Washington ruled that the subpoena was in place.
The Supreme Court is also pending another petition seeking to prevent Trump from handing over its tax records to the New York Procuratorate. Investigators also requested data from Trump and its companies over a period of eight years via Subpoena.
The publication of financial and tax records of senior officials has a long tradition in the United States. Presidential candidates usually publish these already in the election campaign. Trump has always refused. He repeatedly argued that he could not publish his tax records because they were the subject of a tax audit.
However, experts consider this argument unfounded. Among his critics this fuels the suspicion that the former businessman has something to hide. Although Deutsche Bank has detailed financial records of Trump, but not its tax returns, as confirmed by a court in October.
With agency material.
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