Trump loses appeal to block financial records subpoenas

President Donald meets French President Emmanuel Macron at Winfield House Tuesday Dec. 3 2019 in London

President Donald meets French President Emmanuel Macron at Winfield House Tuesday Dec. 3 2019 in London

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that banking institutions must comply with a House Democrat-issued subpoena for President Donald Trump's financial records.

A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued the ruling after Trump filed an appeal in August after a district judge in NY declined to block subpoenas issued by two congressional committees.

The Democratic-controlled House Intelligence and Financial Services committees issued the subpoenas in April as part of investigations into alleged foreign influence in USA elections. Adam B. Schiff and Maxine Waters, both California Democrats, say they need the records as part of broad investigations into Russian money laundering and potential foreign influence involving Trump.

The subpoenas involved in Tuesday's ruling were issued months before House Democrats began an inquiry in September into whether there were grounds to impeach Trump over his request to Ukraine to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Deutsche Bank has always been a principal lender for Trump's real estate business.

The court noted that the president had not disputed that the bank loaned him at least $130 million when no other bank would do so.

Trump's lawyers said that the subpoenas are invalid because of the Right to Financial Privacy Act, which prohibits financial institutions from disclosing a customer's financial records to "any government authority", but the congressional committees have claimed that they are not a "government authority". Livingston was appointed by President George W Bush, a Republican.

Trump has a week to appeal the federal appeals court's decision.

It rejected arguments that the subpoenas were meant merely to embarrass the president, though the court said Trump did deserve some privacy protections and outlined procedures for protecting some sensitive personal information in the documents from public disclosure.

"The committees' interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest than whatever public interest inheres in avoiding the risk of a chief executive's distraction arising from disclosure of documents reflecting his private financial transactions", they wrote.

A federal appeals court has upheld a congressional request seeking almost 10 years of financial records from President Trump, members of his family and his businesses.

A representative for Deutsche Bank declined to comment. The Supreme Court last week put the lower court ruling on hold to give Trump time to appeal.

Following a motion from media organizations including The Washington Post and CNN to have the name of the person or organization made public, Deutsche Bank told the appeals court it does not have Trump's tax returns.

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