The Biggest Risk to Trump May Be His Deutsche Bank Records, Not Russiagate
With Mueller’s special investigation of Donald Trump churning forward, fact has become readily interdispersed with fiction. That’s not surprising, considering how politically charged and important this investigation has become. The results could literally determine whether impeachment articles press forward, or whether the “left” is blasted with more accusations of “witch hunt” and “fake news.” The battle has become ideological in many ways–a clash between truth and ideological supremacy between the left/right paradigm.
Yesterday, the media reported that Robert Mueller had subpoenaed German investment bank Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) to obtain Trump’s account records. The story was first broken by the German daily Handelsblatt, and later disseminated by Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and Reuters.
Reportedly, Mueller had sent a subpoena request several weeks prior asking for information on certain accounts and credit transactions. Donald Trump, who had maintained a two-decade-long relationship with the German bank, was among his targets. Deutsche Bank complied, turning over documents to the investigators earlier this week.
Although White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied these reports, it’s hard to believe Mueller isn’t trolling in that direction. (Source: “White House knocks down report Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s Deutsche Bank records,” The Washington Times, December 6, 2017.)
The reason is obvious: by casting a wide net, Mueller just might find something dubious which implicates Trump. Perhaps a payment or account receivable from a controversial organization, or funds which may have purposefully or inadvertently avoided rightful taxation; how about an outlier transaction not easily explained. Many people believe Mueller is trolling for something.
Given the highly political nature of the investigation, this is hardly surprising. As of yet, no “Special Council” has been set up to investigate Hillary Clinton’s e-mail servers, or James Comey’s FBI leaks, or the Clinton-Lynch tarmac incident. How about Hillary’s uranium one back-dealing or influence peddling through the Clinton Foundation? Rightfully, many people are asking why these infractions aren’t also being investigated.
Regardless of motives or reasoning, Trump’s Deutsche Bank dealings may give him the most headaches. Assuming the reports are true, of course.
Why Some Analysts Sense Impending Danger
As Breitbart rightfully notes, even if Huckabee Sanders is telling the truth and a subpoena hasn’t been issued, Trump’s legal team is likely on high alert over what might turn up. Why? Because according to The New York Times, Trump and his businesses have received more than $4.0 billion in loan commitments and potential bond offerings from Deutsche Bank over the years. (Source: “Why Trump Has Good Reason to Worry About a Mueller Probe of Deutsche Bank,” Breitbart, December 5, 2017.)
That’s a lot of transactions going through. Even if one transaction is “not above board,” it will be magnified an scrutinized to death, leaving Trump on the defensive while further emboldening his critics.
Even worse, Trump’s family is also have well-established ties with the bank. Son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump are reportedly among its customers. Kusher’s family businesses have also reportedly received loans from them. The last thing Trump needs in another black swan, similar to what happened in October when Maryland’s Attorney General announced it was investigating Kushner’s business practices relating to his rental properties. (Source: “Maryland Attorney General investigating Kushner-owned apartments,” The Baltimore Sun, October 30, 2017.)
Remember, Donald Trump was a real estate mogul as a private citizen. This means he directly or indirectly approved thousands of transactions with unions, temp workers, or perhaps off-the-books contractors. It’s likely some of these organizations hadn’t been properly vetted or have ties to entities frowned upon by the Department of Justice. Practically any real estate tycoon would be guilty of the same thing, even if intentions are noble. It’s the nature of the construction industry and running a for-profit business; source the value now, ask questions later. The old axiom “time is money” is especially true in the cutthroat world of real estate development.
We haven’t even scratched the surface of potential nebulous financings and debt offerings brokered with Deutsche Bank. In recent times, the bank has come under fire for being an instrumental player in the London Interbank Offered Rate scandal and violating sanctions by conducting business with Iran. Who knows what Mueller may unearth this time, and under what context.
In the end, while “Russiagate” garners most of the headlines, Trump’s exposure to Deutsche Bank may present his biggest challenge. It’s unlikely any large real estate mogul has a clean shirt dealing with suppliers, workers, and regulators in an industry known for a certain inherent shadiness. Mueller likely knows this, and has embarked on the biggest fishing expedition since Nixon.
All we know for sure is that Trump’s legal team are the biggest winners.