Ginsburg stays order demanding banks turn over Trump financial records

A lower court ruled earlier this week that the banks must comply with congressional subpoenas for Trump’s financial records.
Image: President Donald Trump departs the White House en route Alabama
President Donald Trump looks at the media members on the South Lawn of the White House on Nov. 9, 2019.Yuri Gripas / Reuters file

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By Adam Edelman and Pete Williams

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave lawyers for President Donald Trump a temporary win on Friday in their bid to block subpoenas issued by House Democrats involving the president's financial records.

Lawyers for the president had asked the Supreme Court to block subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for the president's financial records. Ginsburg granted their request for a stay, but it expires in one week barring further action from the court.

In the emergency application to the high court, Trump requested a hold be placed on a ruling by a lower court requiring the two banks to hand over his information to the Democratic-controlled House Intelligence and Financial Services committees.

"The Committees’ desire to use the President, his family, and his businesses as a case study is not a 'legitimate legislative purpose,'" Trump's lawyers argued in the application.

Rather, they claimed, “It is an attempt to exercise executive power beyond Congress’s legislative reach and to expose Applicants’ private records ‘for the sake of exposure.’”

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Trump's lawyers wrote in the application that the issue at hand is "whether the President will be allowed to petition for review of an unprecedented demand for his personal papers, or whether he will be deprived of that opportunity because the Committees issued these subpoenas to third parties with no incentive to test their validity."

The request came three days after the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it would not block the congressional subpoenas for Trump’s financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, affirming a lower court ruling and dealing the president a significant legal blow.

Trump and several members of his family sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One this year seeking to block them from responding to the subpoenas issued by House Democrats, which they said had "no legitimate or legislative purpose."

The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees issued the subpoenas in April as part of investigations into alleged foreign influence in U.S. elections.

Judge Jon O. Newman of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in a more than 100-page decision Tuesday that the Trumps' "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."

That ruling had placed a seven-day stay on the subpoenas so the Trumps could appeal.

On Friday, lawyers for Trump wrote in their application asking that the Supreme Court “recall and stay the Second Circuit’s mandate pending the filing and disposition of Applicants’ petition for certiorari.”

Deutsche Bank has lent Trump's business millions of dollars over the years, even when the president was on tough financial footing decades ago. Capital One is among the banks where Trump has personal accounts.

In August, Deutsche Bank disclosed in a court filing that it possessed tax returns tied to Trump. It was unclear exactly who or what entity the returns belonged to.

Dareh Gregorian contributed.