Mueller subpoenas Trump’s records from Deutsche Bank, challenges the ‘red line’ for investigation

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Multiple sources are reporting that Robert Mueller has subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank concerning their numerous outstanding loans to one Donald John Trump and relatives.

Mueller issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest lender several weeks ago, forcing the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the action has not been announced.

Concerns over Deutsche Bank have been swirling since before the election. Trump has more than $300 million in outstanding loans from the foreign lending organization, which seems more than enough to trigger potential conflicts of interest. Especially considering other investigations that were already underway.

Trump’s attorney general will inherit an investigation of Deutsche Bank related to stock trades for rich clients in Russia — where Trump says he plans to improve relations — and may have to deal with a possible multibillion-dollar penalty to the bank related to mortgage-bond investigations.

Trump’s relationship to Deutsche Bank is long, twisted, and deeply strange. Following his multiple failures in Atlantic City and a series of disastrous real estate deals, Donald Trump reached a point where no one wanted to trust him with their money.

By the 2000s, the property developer and casino owner with ready access to the capital markets and the biggest New York banks was no more. A series of corporate bankruptcies had limited his financing options. 

One of the places Donald Trump got the funds to bail him out of bankruptcy was a series of mysterious, far above market value, property sales to foreign LLCs connected to Russian oligarchs. The other place he got money seemed at least a tad more respectable on the surface.

In 2005, Deutsche Bank approved a $640 million construction loan so Trump could build his name-sake tower in Chicago. The tower, with dozens of multimillion-dollar condos, broke ground at the height of the real-estate boom.

And when that project cratered, Trump had a big thank you note for the people who had made it possible.

When part of the loan came due, rather than pay it, Trump sued a lending consortium led by Deutsche Bank for $3 billion.

Despite that, Trump and Deutsche Bank patched up their differences and the German institution continued to be one of Trump’s go-to sources of funds for projects all over the world. Mueller’s look into the bank’s records are another clear indicator that the special counsel reads his writ on the Trump–Russia investigation as going well beyond items immediately connected to the election.

The new revelation makes it clear that Mueller and his team are investigating the president’s financial transactions. It is not clear whether Mueller is interested in the bank accounts because they are connected to the Russia probe or if he is investigating another matter. …

The news could also elicit a strong reaction from the president, who has previously said that any attempt to investigate his personal business dealings would go beyond Mueller’s investigative mandate and would represent a “violation”.

Having spent the week attacking the FBI, the press, and even his own Justice Department, Trump is more than warmed up for an assault on Mueller. Back in July, Trump set a red line for the investigation.

SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?

HABERMAN: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

TRUMP: I would say yeah. I would say yes. 

Now that it’s clear that Mueller is looking directly into the source of Trump’s funding, the odds that Trump will at least attempt to enforce that red line seem frighteningly high.


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