Democrats subpoena banks as they probe Trump finances

17 April, 2019, 12:14 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Democrats subpoena banks as they probe Trump finances

Two House committees have stepped up their investigation of Donald Trump's business operations by issuing subpoenas for a range of documents from the institution that has always been his main financial prop, Deutsche Bank. The two committees have been working with the bank for several weeks, and both Waters and Schiff have said officials have been cooperative.

Deutsche Bank is not the only financial institution connected to Trump that has been cooperating with the House panels' probes of his finances.

Deutsche Bank said it was in a "productive dialogue" with the committees. Schiff said in his statement that the subpoena to Deutsche Bank is a "friendly" subpoena, meaning he expects them to continue working with the committees. At an April 10 hearing where the chief executive officers of the biggest USA banks testified, she asked them about customer accounts linked to that country. Citigroup's Michael Corbat was most cryptic, saying he couldn't comment on any ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile, House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters said, "The potential use of the US financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern". She explained that her committee was "exploring these matters, including as they may involve the president and his associates, as thoroughly as possible pursuant to its oversight authority, and will follow the facts wherever they may lead us".

The subpoenas are the latest move by congressional Democrats trying to obtain Trump's financial records that include making legal requests for his tax returns in order to see if Russian Federation has financial influence over him.

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The Intelligence Committee is more focused on aspects of financial connections or dealings that could suggest potential leverage by foreign entities over Trump, his family or his business. In the wake of bankruptcies of some of his companies in the 1990s, Trump was shunned by many United States lenders and turned to the German bank for help.

As Common Dreams reported past year, German police raided Deutsche Bank's Frankfurt headquarters in November in connection with the Panama Papers money laundering investigation. But it was only after Democrats won control of the House in 2018 that they gained subpoena power.

Over the weekend, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, renewed his request to the Internal Revenue Service for six years of Trump's tax returns, after the agency dismissed an earlier deadline to turn over the records under a relatively obscure provision of the tax code.

Deutsche Bank officials have quietly argued to regulators, lawmakers and journalists that Mr. Trump was not a priority for the bank or its senior leaders and that the lending was the work of a single, obscure division.

House Republicans have said that Schiff and other Democrats are hounding the president with their flurry of investigations and subpoena threats.

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