Let's say you're a large German bank with a history of murky financial dealings, Russian money laundering, and generous lending chief creditor to an American president who has been accused of murky financial dealings with Russian money launderers. You have been asked by some congressional opponents of that president to hand over confidential documents pertaining to the president's loans. You have two options:
a) Comply with the entirely voluntary request, incensing a POTUS who has both a famously refined taste for exacting revenge and a fair amount of leverage to exert; or
b) Tell them to bugger off.
It took awhile, but our large German bank did indeed go with the logical choice here, option (b), and told Democrats led by Maxine Waters that, much as they'd like to insert themselves into a growing constitutional crisis, they've got better things to do right now.
But the Dems aren't going to be dissuaded by mere logic. In a response to the response sent Wednesday, Waters et al argue that Deutsche Bank's state rationale – that federal law prohibits banks from sharing confidential client info with a “government authority” – doesn't really apply to Congress, which (who knew) isn't considered a government authority. In a gratuitous bit of shade, the Dems even note that one of the two lawyers Deutsche Bank has dispatched – Steven Ross of Akin Gump – has apparently made this exact argument in the past:
Interestingly, Mr. Ross, in a 2012 article you and several colleagues wrote, you anticipate that Congress may raise this point with counsel when requesting information from financial institutions...
In a final rhetorical flourish, the letter suggests that maybe Deutsche Bank could sort this whole thing out by just politely asking the Donald if they could maybe kind of publicize his loan info for all the world to see:
...any liability concerns stemming from disclosure of the President’s and his family members’ nonpublic personal information can be alleviated if your client simply asks the President and his relatives for their consent to disclose. Given President Trump’s repeated assertions that he does not have ties to Russia, such disclosure would ostensibly be in his interest.
“Hi, Mr. Trump? It's John Cryan ... Yes, from Deutsche Bank. Listen, Donald, we really love being the only bank who lends you money, and you are truly a valued customer ... Yes, maybe even the best customer ... Very rich, yes, but listen, since you're our best and richest customer, we were hoping you wouldn't mind if we, uh, gave all your confidential loan documents to congressional Democrats in order to further an investigation they're doing with the express intention of using it to impeach you. That wouldn't be a problem now, would it ...? Hello...? Hello?”