Democrats subpoena Deutsche Bank over Trump's finances

House Democrats have subpoenaed the German lender and several other banks as part of a probe into the US president's finances. The investigation seeks information related to possible Russian money laundering.

Deutsche Bank and several other banking institutions were subpoenaed on Monday by two US House of Representatives committees investigating President Donald Trump's finances.

The House's Intelligence and Financial Services committees issued subpoenas to the German lender — as well as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup — seeking information about Trump's business dealings and possible Russian money laundering. 

"The potential use of the US financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern. The Financial Services Committee is exploring these matters, including as they may involve the president and his associates, as thoroughly as possible," Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters said in a statement.

Read more: German regulators breathing down Deutsche Bank's neck over money laundering

The subpoenas mark a renewed push by Democratic leaders to collect information on the president's finances and that of the Trump Organization since they gained control of the House last fall. 

Deutsche Bank has been one of the few major banks to lend to Trump and his family-owned organization, following several defaults and bankruptcies by the real-estate mogul. The German bank stopped lending to Trump after he became president in 2017.

A 2018 financial disclosure form showed that Trump had at least $130 million (€115 million) in outstanding liabilities to Deutsche Bank's American unit. The bank has loaned Trump and his organization some $2 billion over the years.  

Read more: Donald Trump owes Deutsche Bank big bucks

'Friendly subpoena' 

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement that the subpoena to Deutsche Bank was "friendly."

"As part of our oversight authority and authorized investigation into allegations of potential foreign influence on the US political process, the House Intelligence Committee today issued subpoenas to multiple financial institutions in coordination with the House Financial Services Committee, including a friendly subpoena to Deutsche Bank, which has been cooperative with the Committees. We look forward to their continued cooperation and compliance," Schiff said in a statement.

Related Subjects

Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Kerrie McHugh said the bank was engaged in a "productive dialogue" with the two committees.

"We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations in a manner consistent with our legal obligations," she said in an emailed statement.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

2013: Mr Trump goes to Russia

June 18, 2013. Donald Trump tweeted: "The Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast live from MOSCOW, RUSSIA on November 9. A big deal that will bring our countries together!" He later added: "Do you think Putin will be going - if so, will he become my new best friend?" October 17, 2013 Trump tells chat show host David Letterman he has conducted "a lot of business with the Russians."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

September 2015: Hacking allegations raised

An FBI agent tells a tech-support contractor at the Democratic National Committee it may have been hacked. On May 18, 2016, James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, says there were "some indications" of cyberattacks aimed at the presidential campaigns. On June 14, 2016 the DNC announces it had been the victim of an attack by Russian hackers.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

July 20, 2016: Mr Kislyak enters the picture

Senator Jeff Sessions — an early Trump endorser who led his national security advisory committee — meets Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a group of other ambassadors at a Republican National Convention event.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

July 22, 2016: Assange thickens the plot

Julian Assange's WikiLeaks publishes 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC, appearing to show a preference for Hillary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

July 25, 2016: Cometh the hour, Comey the man

The FBI announces it is investigating the DNC hack saying "a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 8, 2016: Trump elected

Donald Trump is elected president of the United States. On November 9, the Russian parliament burst into applause at the news.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 10, 2016: Team Trump denies Russia link

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov says there "were contacts" between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the election campaign. The Trump campaign issues a firm denial.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 18, 2016: Flynn appointed

Trump names General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. The former Defence Intelligence Agency chief was a top foreign policy adviser in Trump's campaign. Flynn resigned in February after failing to disclose full details of his communication with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

January 26, 2017: Yates - 'The center cannot hold'

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn made false statements regarding his calls with Kislyak. On January 30, Trump fires Yates for refusing to enforce his travel ban, which was later blocked by federal courts.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 2, 2017: Sessions recuses himself

Trump says he has "total confidence" in Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions announces he will recuse himself from any investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 20, 2017: FBI examines Trump-Kremlin links

FBI Director James Comey confirms before the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the FBI was investigating possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

May 9, 2017: Trump sacks Comey

In a letter announcing the termination, Trump writes: "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

May 17, 2017: Mueller appointed special counsel

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller to look into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

August 2017: FBI seizes documents from Manafort

Shortly after Mueller convenes a grand jury for the investigation, the FBI seizes documents from one of Paul Manafort's properties as part of a raid for Mueller's probe. The former Trump campaigner manager stepped down in August 2016 after allegations surfaced that he had received large payments linked to Ukraine's former pro-Russian government.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

September 2017: Trump Jr.'s talks to Senate committee

Donald Trump Jr. tells the Senate Judiciary Committee he has not colluded with a foreign government. The closed-door interview relates to his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which was also attended by his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump Jr.’s emails, however, suggest the meeting was supposed to produce dirt on Clinton.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

October 2017: Internet giants allege Russian interference

Facebook, Twitter and Google reportedly tell US media they have evidence that Russian operatives exploited platforms to spread disinformation during the 2016 US presidential election. The three companies are appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee in November 2017.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

July 2018: Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki for their first-ever summit. During the trip, Trump publically contradicts the findings of US intelligence agencies who concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 8, 2018: Sessions resigns as attorney general

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns from his post, under reported pressure from Trump. The president then appoints a critic of the Mueller probe as his successor, but later nominates William Barr to be the next attorney general in December 2018.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 29, 2018: Former Trump lawyer pleads guilty

Trump's former long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleads guilty to lying to Congress about discussions in 2016 on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The FBI raided his home earlier that year in April. He would later be sentenced to three years in prison. In 2019, he tells Congress that Trump is a "racist" and a "con man."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

January 2019: Trump associate Roger Stone arrested

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate and Republican operative, is arrested at his home in Florida for lying to Congress about having advance knowledge of plans by WikiLeaks to release emails from the Democratic Party that US officials say were stolen by Russia.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 13, 2019: Manafort sentenced to prison

Manafort is found guilty of conspiracy charges and handed an additional sentence, bringing his total prison sentence to 7.5 years. In August 2018, a court in Virginia found him guilty of eight charges, including tax and bank fraud. He also pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 22, 2019: Mueller ends Russia probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller submits a confidential report on the findings of his investigation to the US Justice Department. Officials say the main conclusions of the report will be made public when they are given to Congress.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 24, 2019: Trump declares 'exoneration'

The final report concluded that no one involved in Trump's 2016 election campaign colluded with Russia. The president was not cleared of obstruction of justice, however. Reacting to the findings, Trump described the probe as an "illegal take-down that failed," and said there was "complete and total exoneration."

Read more: Deutsche Bank's 5 biggest scandals

Legal battles on horizon as Democrats dig into Trump's finances

Deutsche Bank has expected a subpoena since at least January, when Democrats took control of the House vowing to expand probes into Trump's finances.

The New York Times, which first broke the story, reported that congressional investigators have been negotiating with Deutsche Bank over the terms of the disclosures.

A subpoena allows Deutsche Bank to overcome legal constraints concerning client confidentiality, but the request for documents may be challenged by the White House.

The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees' investigations are a part of a larger Democratic effort to dig into Trump's finances.

The powerful Ways and Means Committee is attempting to get access to Trump's personal and business tax returns. Trump did not release his tax documents during the 2016 campaign, as is standard for presidential candidates.

cw/kl (AP, Reuters)

Every evening, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.