The Trump crime family loses in court again for the second time this week, as expected.
A federal judge in te Southern District of New York on Wednesday said Deutsche Bank and Capitol One can turn over financial documents related to President Donald Trump and his businesses in response to subpoenas from House Democrats.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos said in a ruling delivered from the bench that Trump and his company were unlikely to succeed in a lawsuit arguing that the subpoenas seeking records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One were unlawful and unconstitutional. (h/t AP).
Judge Ramos’s ruling came after a hearing at which lawyers for Trump, his three older children, Donald Jr. Eric and Ivanka, and the Trump Organization argued that the subpoenas to the two banks should be quashed.
Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama, said that the Trump [crime family’s] arguments “are not sufficiently serious as it relates to Supreme Court precedent” dealing with the question of turning over documents to Congress.
The judge also disagreed with the argument by the Trump legal team that the demand for the documents lacks a legitimate legislative purpose. Ramos said there is such “a legitimate legislative purpose.”
His decision came two days after another federal judge, in Washington, D.C., said Trump’s accountants at the firm Mazars LLP had to comply with a congressional subpoena for his financial records.
But wait … there’s more!
Ramos’s ruling came hours after the New York State legislature passed [a] bill aimed at Trump, which would allow Trump’s state tax returns to be turned over to Congress if they are requested. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he supports that idea, but has yet to say whether he will sign the bills.
The New York Times elaborates, New York Passes Bill Giving Congress a Way to Get Trump’s State Tax Returns:
New York State lawmakers on Wednesday gave their final approval to a bill that would clear a path for Congress to obtain President Trump’s state tax returns, injecting another element into a tortuous battle over the president’s refusal to release his taxes.
The bill, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat and regular critic of Mr. Trump’s policies and behavior, will authorize state tax officials to release the president’s state returns to any one of three congressional committees.
The returns — filed in New York, the president’s home state and business headquarters — would likely contain much of the same information as the contested federal returns, though it remained unclear whether those congressional committees would use such new power in their investigations.
Republicans have called the effort in Albany a “bill of attainder” — an unconstitutional piece of legislation aimed at a single person or group — while also decrying the potential invasion of privacy, suggesting that federal officials would conduct improper “fishing expeditions.”
Sorry, but no. This bill is a “mirror image” of Section 6103 of the federal tax code, which provides that Treasury officials “shall” turn over the tax returns “upon written request” of the chair of either congressional tax committee or the federal employee who runs Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. All the New York law does is extend this to the counterpart state income tax returns as well. It does not apply only to Donald Trump and his crime family, any more than the federal tax code provision does.
Lawmakers took steps to safeguard the bill from legal challenges, amending the wording so that it covered an array of public officials, federal executive branch employees and political party leaders.
David Buchwald, the Assembly sponsor of the state tax bill and a tax lawyer by trade, said that he was confident the state was within its rights to allow federal access to such records, noting that state tax officials commonly share information with the I.R.S. and other states.
“There are no valid constitutional arguments against this legislation,” Mr. Buchwald said on Wednesday. “The state has the authority over the statutes when it shares tax return information.” He noted that local property tax information, for instance, was available to the public.
Mr. Galle seconded this, saying “there is no constitutional right to have privacy in your tax returns,” though federal law offers some protections of such information, as well as exceptions.
* * *
Once signed into law by Mr. Cuomo, the legislation would require the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release returns to the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.” Such a request would be have to be made it writing, and only after a request for federal returns has been made to the Treasury Department.
In Washington, the House Ways and Means Committee has unsuccessfully sought six years of the president’s personal and business tax returns. The Treasury Department said last week that it would not honor a congressional subpoena to hand over the president’s returns, saying the request lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose,” though a leaked draft memorandum from the I.R.S. suggested that such logic was flawed.
On Wednesday, the Ways and Means Committee said it was focused on pursuing Mr. Trump’s federal tax information, regardless of New York’s action and the potential for getting the president’s state returns.
“Our request to the Internal Revenue Service was in furtherance of an investigation into the mandatory presidential audit program at the I.R.S.,” said Daniel Rubin, a spokesman for the committee, which is led by Representative Richard E. Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat. “State returns would not help us evaluate this program.”
* * *
Mr. Hoylman said he envisioned the state tax bill as a way to assist congressional oversight at a time of “White House stonewalling.” Indeed, when the bill was first introduced in early April, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said it would make the work of federal committee “a little easier to see the complete picture.”
His office reiterated that support on Wednesday, calling the state’s action an act “for transparency.”
“It’s something we can give Chairman Neal if he decides to exercise it,” Rob Gottheim, a spokesman for Mr. Nadler, said of the Ways and Means Committee leader.
Trump’s lawyers are asserting legal arguments that are without merit. They are going to lose, the legal challenge is solely for the putposr of delay. Laurence Tribe predicts all 9 Supreme Court justices will back Democrats subpoenaing Trump: ‘The jig is up’.
UPDATE: The House Financial Services Committee has obtained documents from two financial institutions relating to their dealings with the Trump Organization, according to NBC News.
TD Bank and Wells Fargo, two of nine institutions subpoenaed by the House panel, have complied, with Wells Fargo providing a few thousand requested documents and TD Bank providing a smaller amount, according to NBC, citing a source who had seen the documents.
Committee chair Maxine Waters has also subpoenaed Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank, and JP Morgan Chase, with Royal Bank of Canada in the process of complying, according to NBC. The committee set a May 6 subpoena deadline for the documents