Special Counsel Robert Mueller is focusing attention on Donald Trump’s business dealings, and has now subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on the president’s banking transactions.
The subpoena, first reported on Tuesday by Bloomberg, was filed several weeks ago, and asks Germany’s largest bank to provide Mueller with documents on its relationship with Trump and his family. The bank is said to be cooperating with the investigation.
Trump has a two-decades-long relationship with Deutsche Bank. During the 1990s, a string of bankruptcies — including the infamous Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City — made him toxic to most investors on Wall Street. Deutsche Bank was one of the few exceptions, loaning him more than $4 billion over 20 years, including a $640 million loan for the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago — which he fell behind on payments for. Between 2012 and 2015, Trump also borrowed over $300 million for hotels in Chicago, Washington D.C., and a Florida golf course.
Trump’s family is involved with Deutsche Bank as well. In July, the New York Times reported that Jared Kushner’s former family business, Kushner Companies, had received a $285 million loan form Deustche Bank in 2016. Ivanka Trump is also reported to be a client.
Deutsche Bank, however, also has been in lawmakers’ crosshairs for its shady Russian ties. This year the bank has paid more than $670 million in civil penalties to regulators in both the U.S. and U.K. over allegations that it missed red flags in a trading scheme that allowed wealthy Russians to launder billions of dollars out of Moscow. The Justice Department launched its own investigation of the money laundering scheme, but it reportedly went dormant in November after the bank settled with regulators — around the same time Mueller would have been filing subpoenas to Deutsche Bank.
Because of the bank’s cozy relationship with Russian money launderers, Democrats have been calling for a more thorough investigation of the bank since the election. “Deutsche Bank’s pattern of involvement in money laundering schemes with primarily Russian participation, its unconventional relationship with the President, and its repeated violations of US banking laws, all raise serious questions about whether the Bank’s reported reviews of the trading scheme and Trump’s financial ties to Russia were completely thorough,” a letter written by Rep. Maxine Waters (D – CA) said.
Executives inside Deutsche Bank have been reportedly waiting to hear from Mueller for months now. In July, the Guardian reported that Trump’s personal bankers expected to soon be receiving subpoenas and requests for information from Trump. What makes this newest development potentially interesting is that Trump has previously said in a July interview with the New York Times that Mueller looking into his personal and family finances constituted a “red line.”
“My finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company,” Trump said. “Actually when I do my filings, peoples [sic] say ‘Man’. People have no idea how successful this is. It’s a great company.”
During that interview, Trump wouldn’t say what exactly he’d do if Mueller started investigating his family’s finances, because he said he didn’t think it would to happen.