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Appeals Court Won’t Block Congressional Subpoenas of Deutsche Bank, Capital One


The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday refused to block subpoenas of Deutsche Bank and Capital One, saying that it affirmed the lower court’s order “in substantial part to the extent that it denied a preliminary injunction and order prompt compliance with the subpoenas.”

The Court’s conclusion, [emphases ours]:

For all of these reasons, we conclude that under the applicable likelihood‐ of‐success standard, Appellants’ motion for a preliminary injunction was properly denied, except as to disclosure of any documents that might be determined to be appropriate for withholding from disclosure pursuant to our limited remand. The serious‐questions standard is inapplicable, the balance of hardships does not tip decidedly in favor of Appellants, and the public interest favors denial of a preliminary injunction.

We affirm the District Court’s order in substantial part to the extent that it denied a preliminary injunction and order prompt compliance with the subpoenas, except that the case is remanded to a limited extent for implementation of the procedure set forth in this opinion concerning the nondisclosure of sensitive personal information and a limited opportunity for Appellants to object to disclosure of other specific documents within the coverage of those paragraphs of the subpoenas listed in this opinion. The mandate shall issue forthwith, but compliance with the three subpoenas and the procedure to be implemented on remand is stayed for seven days to afford Appellants an opportunity to apply to the Supreme Court or a Justice thereof for an extension of the stay.

In summary: President Donald Trump’s effort to block subpoenas related to finances failed and the Appeals Court tailored its ruling with the Supreme Court in mind.

Per the Washington Post, on the impact:

The trove of financial documents held by Deutsche Bank could give House Democrats a detailed roadmap for more than a decade of Trump’s financial history, including who he did business with and the sources of his wealth.

“We might find out whether Trump has, to the public, overstated his assets and understated his personal benefit from his tax cut,” said Charles Tiefer, a former longtime House lawyer who is now a University of Baltimore law professor.

In May, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York Edgardo Ramos decided that President Trump couldn’t block the congressional subpoenas issued to Deutsche Bank and Capital One, just days after his D.C. colleague Amit Mehta arrived at the same decision in the Mazars USA case. Trump, of course, sued Mazars USA (his accountant), Deutsche Bank and Capital One after House Democrats demanded that these entities hand over documents related to his finances.

President Trump made his opinion on Judge Mehta’s unfavorable ruling clear, saying, “It’s totally the wrong decision by, obviously, an Obama-appointed judge.” Judges Mehta and Ramos were appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Courts of D.C. and Southern District of New York, respectively.

University of Texas Law Prof. Stephen Vladeck’s analysis of the upshot was instructive.

“Here is the Second Circuit’s 165-page ruling largely rejecting @realDonaldTrump’s effort to block congressional subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and other third parties, over a partial (but pretty narrow) dissent from Judge Livingston,” Vladeck said. “There’s a lot to unpack here, but the reality of the matter is that this case raises much the same issues as the DC Mazars case, in which @realDonaldTrump is expected to file his #SCOTUS appeal by this Thursday (12/5).”

“So another loss for Trump, but it’s all up to #SCOTUS now,” he noted.

You can read the 165-page document below. Judges John O. Newman, Peter W. Hall and Debra Ann Livingston presided over the case. Newman was appointed by Jimmy Carter; Hall and Livingston by were appointed by George W. Bush.

Appeals Court on Deutsche Bank Subpoenas by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.