House Democrats issued subpoenas Monday for records from Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions, seeking information regarding President Trump’s business ventures as several congressional panels took steps to intensify their scrutiny of the president’s personal accounts and corporate dealings.
The subpoenas, first reported by the New York Times, were issued by the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, which have been leading the Democrats’ probe of Trump’s finances. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, said in a statement Monday that Trump’s “potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern.”
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has also said the panels want to know whether the president’s financial transactions left him susceptible to foreign influence that could compromise his duties as president.
In a statement Monday, Schiff referred to the Deutsche Bank summons as a “friendly subpoena” — suggesting that the bank may have requested the order before complying with it. A representative for Deutsche Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night, but Schiff added that the bank was working with the panels, noting that he looked “forward to their continued cooperation and compliance.”
Lawmakers have focused special attention on Deutsche Bank since Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen said Trump provided it with financial records that inflated his assets to secure loans from the company to finance real estate projects and, in one case, to attempt to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The bank is reported to have played a critical role in sustaining Trump’s real estate empire by providing him critical high-risk loans at a time when the businessman was having difficulty securing funds from other institutions.
The transactions Trump conducted with the bank are of interest not just to Democratic lawmakers investigating the president. Last month, the New York attorney general also subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank related to loans it had made to Trump’s companies in recent years.
Deutsche Bank is not the only financial institution connected to Trump that has been cooperating with the House panels’ probes of his finances. Last week, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) announced that he would subpoena Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for records pertaining to the president’s financial affairs. Cummings said Mazars had requested a “friendly subpoena,” citing laws and rules that the firm said required a subpoena before it could issue such records.
The president’s lawyers have been pushing the accounting firm not to comply with that order, arguing that the congressional subpoena “would not be valid or enforceable.”
Similar clashes over subpoenas are expected to transpire between lawmakers and the administration in the weeks ahead as House Democrats push Trump’s team to turn over documents ranging from the president’s tax returns to the full report and underlying materials produced in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.