On Wednesday, Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that Deutsche Bank and Capital One, which did business with Donald Trump, must comply with congressional subpoenas from the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees, as part of their investigation into possible “foreign influence in the U.S. political process” that the Mueller report concluded did not happen.
Ramos is the second Obama-appointed judge to rule against Trump in cases involving congressional subpoenas this week, but new information reported today suggests that Judge Ramos had a conflict of interest, and should not have presided over this case.
The New York federal judge who ruled on Wednesday that the Trump administration must comply with two subpoenas from the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees has donated in the past to a slew of big-name Democrats — including two who currently sit on those committees, according to federal election filings.
After an hour of oral arguments, Barack Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled the subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Capital One have “a legitimate legislative purpose,” and that Trump was unlikely to prevail in a lawsuit to quash the requests. Judges have the option to recuse themselves if there is an appearance of bias.
Federal election records show that, when he was a partner at the law firm Day Pitney LLP and before he was appointed to the bench in 2011, Ramos sent $350 to Connecticut Democrat Rep. Jim Himes from 2007 to 2008, as well as $500 to elect New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez in 2010.
Himes sits on both the Intelligence and Financial Services Committees, while Velazquez sits on Financial Services.
Ramos also donated several thousand dollars to Obama’s presidential campaign over the years and donated $1,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2009. Congressional Democrats have called into question Attorney General Barr’s objectivity simply for having been nominated by President Trump. I wonder, what is their position is on judges who rule on cases involving subpoenas from committees with members they’ve donated to?
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis