Banks told to hand over Trump tax records

Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel

A US appeals court has handed President Donald Trump another defeat in his bid to keep his financial records secret, directing Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp to comply with subpoenas from congressional Democrats demanding the material.

A three-judge panel of the Manhattan-based 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against Trump's bid to block two House of Representatives committees from enforcing subpoenas issued in April to the two banks seeking the documents.

Trump is expected to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court.

The 2nd Circuit rejected Trump's arguments that Congress lacked a valid purpose for seeking his records and that disclosure of the material would compromise his and his family's privacy and distract the Republican president from his duties.

The material sought by the committees include records of accounts, transactions and investments linked to Trump, his three oldest children, their immediate family members and several Trump Organization entities.

"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," Judge Jon Newman wrote in the ruling.

Trump had sued the two banks in an effort to prevent the disclosure of his financial records.

US District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled in May that the subpoenas could be enforced, prompting Trump to appeal.

"We believe the subpoenas at issue are not valid," said Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump.

"In light of the 2nd Circuit decision, we are evaluating our next options including seeking review at the Supreme Court of the United States."

The Supreme Court's 5-4 conservative majority includes two justices appointed by Trump.

In separate legal cases, Trump also has sought to block House Democrats from obtaining his tax and financial records from his long-time accounting firm.

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.

Trump, running for re-election in 2020, has fought hard to keep his financial and tax records private. He broke with tradition by not releasing his tax returns as a candidate in 2016 and as president.