WASHINGTON — President Trump’s favorite bank, Deutsche Bank, pretty much just confirmed in public that it’s got copies of Trump’s tax returns stashed away in its files.
And that’s a problem for Trump: Because House Democrats are fighting a legal battle to get inside Deutsche’s vaults, and they stand a chance of winning before the 2020 election.
The apparent admission brings new urgency to the legal clash over Deutsche, which worked more closely with Trump than any other bank over two decades and is thought to hold a detailed portrait of his business empire within its extensive records.
Outside experts have long thought Deutsche’s files could be even more revealing than Trump’s tax returns. Now, seemingly, they won’t have to choose: They can just get both through Deutsche.
Lawyers for the German financial giant left a glimmer of doubt, however, about exactly whose tax returns they have, in their partially-redacted filing submitted Tuesday.
Judges overseeing Trump’s lawsuit to stop Deutsche from sharing documents with House Democrats in response to a Congressional subpoena had ordered Deutsche to say whether it had tax returns for Trump or members of his family.
In response, Deutsche’s lawyers wrote:
“The bank has in its possession tax returns (in either draft or as-filed form) responsive to the subpoenas” for people whose names were blanked out. “In addition, the bank has such documents related to parties not named in the subpoenas but who may constitute ‘immediate family’ within the definition of the subpoenas.”
The exact text of Democrats’ subpoenas for records from Trump’s family business has not become public, but Trump’s lawyers have complained that Democrats’ requests are ridiculously broad.
In oral arguments last week, Trump’s lawyer, Patrick Strawbridge, argued Democrats want to know about “every Diet Coke that a teenager bought using a credit card.”
Deutsche’s lawyers stubbornly refused to tell the judges on the Appeals court whether they did, or did not, have Trump’s tax returns in those oral arguments Friday.
And their suggestive statement Tuesday stood in contrast to a much more straight-forward response by another bank involved in the legal feud, Capital One, which stated simply that it “does not possess any tax returns responsive to the Capital One subpoena.”
Deutsche’s records are being sought in a joint investigation being led by the House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee.
Another panel, House Ways And Means Committee, is seeking Trump’s tax returns directly using a different route: a century-old law that allows that committee’s chairman to request anyone’s tax returns.
Trump’s lawyers are fighting both claims in legal cases that many outside lawyers believe Trump is likely to lose, but which could stretch on past the 2020 election.
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