Tax & Financial Records Case

Deutsche Bank and Capital One Case

Major Issue: Whether President Trump can stop two House committees from using subpoenas to obtain tax and financial records relating to him from two financial institutions, Deutsche Bank and Capital One.

Case Status:  Awaiting a Second Circuit opinion.

Case Description: In March 2019, the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Select Committee on Intelligence subpoenaed a variety of documents from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, including financial records and tax returns related to President Trump, his family members, and businesses.  The request was made to advance broader committee investigations into illicit funds, money laundering, national security, and integrity of elections.  On April 29, 2019, President Trump filed suit in federal district court for the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”) to prevent the banks from producing Trump-related documents to the House committees.  The suit named the banks; later, the two House committees were added as intervenors.

 Procedural Posture: SDNY District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos was assigned to Case No. 19-cv-3826.  On May 22, 2019, ruling from the bench, the district court denied President Trump’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent bank compliance with the House subpoenas.  President Trump appealed the district court’s decision.  On Dec. 3, 2019, a Second Circuit panel, in a 2-1 ruling with a partial concurrence and dissent, affirmed the district court’s opinion in substantial part, ordered compliance with the House subpoenas with a few limited exceptions, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

On Dec. 13, 2019, the Supreme Court granted President Trump’s petition to hear the case, stayed the subpoenas, and consolidated the case with two others involving subpoenas directed to third parties to produce tax and financial records related to President Trump.  On July 9, 2020, the Supreme Court held that presidents are not immune to congressional subpoenas and issued a 4-part test to evaluate congressional subpoenas seeking information related to the president.  The Supreme Court vacated the Second Circuit opinion and remanded the case for further proceedings.  On August 26, 2020, as directed by the Second Circuit panel, the House and Trump counsel submitted letters recommending next steps in the case

On April 29, 2019, President Trump filed suit in SDNY court to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from producing financial records and tax returns related to him, his family members, and businesses in response to three House subpoenas directed to the banks.  The suit named the banks; later, the House committees that issued the subpoenas were added as intervenors.  The parties jointly requested a stay of the subpoenas pending review of the case.  On May 22, 2019, ruling from the bench, Judge Ramos denied President Trump’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent bank compliance with the House subpoenas, and read a 38-page opinion into the hearing record.  Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG, No. 19-cv-3826 (ER) (S.D.N.Y. May 22, 2019). 

President Trump appealed the decision of the district court to the Second Circuit which affirmed the decision.  President Trump then appealed to the Supreme Court which vacated the Second Circuit opinion and remanded the case to the Second Circuit for further proceedings.

On May 24, 2019, President Trump appealed the district court decision.  A Second Circuit 3-judge panel, with Judges Hall, Livingston, and Newman, was assigned to Case No. 19-1540.  The parties filed joint motions to stay the district court’s order pending appeal and to expedite review of the case, both of which were granted by the appeals court.  The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed an amicus brief in support of the President.  Another amicus brief was filed by the Constitution Accountability Center (“CAC”) in support of the House committees.  On Dec. 3, 2019, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling in substantial part, ordered compliance with the House subpoenas with a few limited exceptions, and remanded the case for further proceedings.  Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG, 943 F.3d 627, 674 (2d Cir. 2019), cert. granted, 2019 WL 6797733 (U.S. Dec. 13, 2019) (No. 19-760).  A partial concurrence and partial dissent by Judge Livingston would have remanded the case to the district court to develop a more detailed record for further review before ruling on specific subpoena compliance issues. 

After accepting an appeal from President Trump, the Supreme Court stayed the subpoenas, vacated the Second Circuit opinion, and on July 9, 2020, issued an opinion creating a new 4-part test for evaluating congressional subpoenas seeking information related to the president.  The Supreme Court remanded the case to the Second Circuit for further proceedings, and the same 3-judge panel directed the parties to submit letters recommending next steps in the case.  On August 26, 2020, the House informed the court that the  Financial Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence had narrowed their subpoena requests to Deutsche Bank and had withdrawn the subpoena to Capital One, and requested enforcement of the revised Deutsche Bank subpoena, because it met the requirements of the Supreme Court’s test.  On the same day, President Trump asked the court to remand the case to the district court.

On Dec. 6, 2019, the President filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking an emergency stay of the House subpoenas and review of the case.  That same day, the Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of the House subpoenas pending review of the petition.  On Dec. 11, the House committees filed an opposition to the stay and review of the case.  On Dec. 13, 2019, the Supreme Court granted the petition to hear the case and extended the stay pending appeal.  The Supreme Court also consolidated the case with two others involving subpoenas directed to third parties to produce tax and financial records related to President Trump.  On July 9, 2020, in a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court held that presidents are not immune to congressional subpoenas, found that federal courts have jurisdiction to resolve interbranch subpoena disputes, and issued new standards to evaluate congressional subpoenas seeking information related to the president.  The Supreme Court vacated the Second Circuit opinion and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with the new standards.

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