A federal judge in Washington, D.C., handed House Democrats their first legal victory Monday in their fight to obtain President Trump's financial records, in this case from Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA. "It is simply not fathomable," Judge Amit Mehta wrote, "that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a president for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry." Mehta gave Trump a week to appeal, and Trump said he will do so.
The next legal battle involves a subpoena from the House Financial Services Committee for Trump's business and personal financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan is hearing Trump's motion to block that subpoena on Wednesday, and House lawyers quickly reminded Ramos that Mehta had just rejected "a substantially similar challenge by President Trump."
Ramos will be hearing Trump's request for a preliminary injunction, a step Mehta skipped, but Trump's basic legal argument is broadly similar in both cases: Congress is inappropriately investigating Trump's personal finances, without any legitimate legislative reason. If Ramos allows the subpoena, Trump's lawyers wrote last week, "nonstop investigations into the personal lives of presidents" will become "the new normal."
Trump refuses to release his tax returns, and his relationship with Deutsche Bank in has been a point of particular intrigue, most recently when The New York Times reported Sunday that Deutsche Bank money-laundering experts flagged several suspicious transactions from Trump-controlled accounts in 2016 and 2017, but executives in the private-banking division sat on the reports rather than passing them to government regulators.