Aug 27, 2019
Just ahead of a later afternoon court-ordered deadline on Tuesday, financial giant Deutsche Bank indicated it is possession of at least some tax return documents filed by President Donald Trump and possibly members of his family.
Deutsche Bank wouldn't say publicly on Tuesday whether it has President Donald Trump's tax returns. Yet the bank acknowledges the US House would see people's tax returns--possibly even those of Trump family members--if the bank fulfilled a subpoena related to Trump, according to a letter from the bank to a federal appeals court on Tuesday.
"Based on Deutsche Bank's current knowledge and the results of the extensive searches that have already been conducted, the Bank, has in its possession tax returns (in either draft or as- filed form) responsive to the Subpoenas for [Redacted Redacted]. In addition, the Bank has such documents related to parties not named in the Subpoenas but who may constitute "immediate family" within the definition provided in the Subpoenas. The Bank does not believe it possesses tax returns responsive to the Subpoenas for individuals named in the Subpoenas other than those identified above," the letter said.
Capital One, separately, tells the court it does not have tax returns that would fall under the House's April 2019 subpoena related to Trump.
Journalist Greg Walters, writing for Vice, explains why the statement by the bank could be so significant:
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.
According to New York Times investigative reporter Susanne Craig, who has spent years digging into Trump's complicated financial dealings:
\u201cDeutsche Bank has all but confirmed the bank is in possession of tax returns for President Trump and some of his immediate family. Names are redacted in the letter the bank just filed in response to Monday's court order, but it's clear who they are referring to. \ud83d\udc49\u201d— Susanne Craig (@Susanne Craig) 1566934227
\u201cDeutsche Bank appears to have tax returns for President Trump. Capital One Financial does not. It's hardly surprising Deutsche Bank has some of Trump's tax returns. What's shocking to me is the bank was unwilling to answer this basic question until faced with a court order.\u201d— Susanne Craig (@Susanne Craig) 1566936616
David Enrich, Craig's colleague and the finance editor at the Times, said people should not be surprised at the revelation--given the paper's reporting on what the bank might possess months ago. The question now, however, is whether the Democrats in the U.S. House will seize the possible opportunity to obtain the filings from the bank even as an intense legal fight is expected from Trump to make sure the American people never see his returns.
As Walters reports, "many outside lawyers believe Trump is likely to lose" the ultimate legal question, but it could well be a battle that stretches beyond the 2020 election.
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