President Donald Trump repeatedly committed one of the same crimes that is about to land his former lawyer Michael Cohen in jail, The New York Times reported Monday.
The Times report on Trump’s long, troubled history with Deutsche Bank includes allegations that he repeatedly overstated his wealth to obtain favorable loans from the bank. The reporting confirms some of Cohen’s sworn testimony that Trump misrepresented his assets when it suited him.
The Times reports that Trump overstated his personal wealth by $2.2 billion when applying for a loan to build the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago around 2005.
Five years later in another incident, a Deutsche Bank team tasked with investigating his financial records reportedly discovered that Trump was inflating the value of some of his real estate assets by up to 70 percent. Trump was seeking financing for his Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami.
Trump reportedly lied to Deutsche Bank again in 2014 as part of his bid to buy the Buffalo Bills football team, according to The Times and to congressional testimony Cohen gave last month.
“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” Cohen said.
Cohen himself pleaded guilty last year to a host of charges that included lying on loan applications to obtain a home equity line of credit. He will begin a 36-month prison term in May.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee pointed out Cohen’s loan fraud after he testified last month that he only lied to Congress to protect Trump, suggesting his bank fraud made him an unworthy witness. Meanwhile, some Democrats on the committee called on further criminal investigation into Trump’s financial history.
“What we have learned today is that the president committed bank fraud by submitting a false loan application to Deutsche Bank,” Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Cohen’s testimony.
This is not the first time Trump has been implicated in potential crimes as the sprawling special counsel investigation into Russian election interference has grown to include the president’s business and campaign finance dealings.
Cohen testified in federal court last August that he broke campaign finance laws “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump by coordinating hush-money payments to women who said they had affairs with the then-candidate.
Trump has also emerged, under the legal moniker “Individual 1,” as a central character in a series of indictments and criminal investigations related to his business dealings in Russia and whether his former campaign aide Roger Stone may have coordinated Russia’s election interference efforts.
It is the Justice Department’s longstanding policy not to indict a sitting president, though that policy has never been tested in court. But the presidency is a fickle shield: With the 2020 election just around the corner, Trump’s legal woes could just be beginning.