Democrats just subpoenaed Trump’s favorite bank

Deutsche Bank is believed to hold a vast trove of info about Trump’s empire.
April 16, 2019, 3:25pm
Democrats just subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, Trump’s favorite lender

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WASHINGTON — House Democrats may be waiting to see Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report like the rest of us, but that hasn’t stopped them from pursuing other investigations into President Trump’s finances.

Two House committees sent a subpoena for records on Monday to Trump’s longtime lender of choice, the German financial giant Deutsche Bank, along with multiple other financial institutions as part of an investigation into foreign influence on U.S. politics, Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who chairs the House Intel committee, told VICE News Tuesday morning.

Investigators are seeking documents related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe, The New York Times reported, citing three unidentified people with knowledge of the requests.

The subpoenas mark a new front in the investigations into Trump’s money, which are being led by multiple House committees and investigative bodies based in New York State. Collectively, investigators are now seeking a wide range of documents related to Trump’s finances, including banking records, personal and business tax returns and corporate insurance records. The German lender has already been subpoenaed by New York’s Attorney General’s office.

Schiff said Deutsche has been “cooperative” with the probe being run by the House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee.

“Deutsche Bank is engaged in a productive dialogue with the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees,” Deutsche spokesperson Kerrie McHugh told VICE News in an emailed statement Tuesday morning. “We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations in a manner consistent with our legal obligations.”

That could pose problems for the president. The firm is believed to hold a vast and detailed trove of information about Trump’s business empire, thanks to its longstanding lending relationship with his family business. The bank has reportedly lent Trump a total of more than $2 billion over the years, even after other big Wall Street firms labeled him too risky to touch after a series of bankruptcies in the 1990s.

Congressional investigators are also seeking records from JP Morgan and Citigroup, CNN reported Tuesday morning, citing unidentified people familiar with the requests.

President Trump’s son Eric slammed the bank subpoenas as an “unprecedented abuse of power,” motivated by politics.

“Instead of legislating, the committee is obsessed with harassing and undermining my father’s administration, doing everything they can to distract from his incredible accomplishments,” Eric Trump said in a statement to VICE News. “This incompetence is the exact reason why the American people have such disdain for politicians and why my father was elected president.”

But House Democrats say they’re worried about the national security implications of Trump’s potential ties to foreign money.

“We want to know if the president or anyone in his family is financially compromised,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN late Monday. “Not just to the Russians, because we shouldn’t assume he’s faithful to them. He has worked with the Saudis, with other countries, in ways that are certainly, I think, below the standard of conduct that we would accept.”

Deutsche has had its own controversial history with helping to move Russian money around the world. In January 2017, the bank was fined $630 million by regulators in New York and London for allowing clients of its Moscow office to launder $10 billion out of Russia through questionable stock trades.

Deutsche isn’t the only aspect of Trump’s finances facing scrutiny. The New York State Department of Financial Services, has sought records from Trump’s longtime insurance broker, Aon. The House Oversight Committee is seeking years worth of records from Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, according to Politico. And the House Ways & Means Committee submitted a formal request to the IRS for Trump’s tax returns, with a deadline of April 23.

Cover: President Donald Trump speaks at Nuss Truck and Equipment in Burnsville, Minn., Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)