Congress subpoenas Trump's banks to look into 'foreign influence'

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Two House committees are looking into Trump's bank records to see what he might be hiding.

Congress ramped up its investigations into Trump's shady business dealings on Tuesday by issuing subpoenas to banks that have ties to Trump.

The investigation centers on "allegations of potential foreign influence on the U.S. political process," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement to NBC News.

Both the House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee have issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank, as well as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America.

Trump has a long history with Deutsche Bank in particular, and still owes the bank at least $130 million.

As Schiff explained in a December 2018 interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Trump's connection to Deutsche Bank is especially troubling because the institution has "a history of laundering Russian money."

"The potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern," Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chair of the Financial Services Committee, told NBC News in a statement.

The subpoena to Deutsche Bank is known as a "friendly subpoena," indicating the bank agreed to cooperate but needed the subpoena in order to comply with their legal obligations.

Much about Trump's financial situation is still a mystery, in part because Trump broke his promise to release his tax returns while running for office. While he claims to be a billionaire, his longtime attorney and "fixer," Michael Cohen, said Trump lied about his wealth when trying to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills team.

Subsequent reporting supported Cohen's claims, showing even Deutsche Bank employees did not believe Trump was a billionaire.

Schiff and Waters are not the only members of Congress seeking information about Trump's shady financial background.

In early April, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) demanded six years of Trump's tax returns from the IRS. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has thus far not complied with the law requiring him to hand the returns over to Congress, and continues to withhold the information.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chair of the House Oversight Committee, has also issued a friendly subpoena for financial records from longtime Trump accounting firm Mazars USA, which could help corroborate Cohen's testimony that Trump may have committed bank fraud when he lied about his wealth.

As Schiff put it, Trump's financial entanglements could be a "form of compromise." And Congress is determined to make sure no American president is secretly compromised by a foreign government.

Published with permission of The American Independent.