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House Democrats subpoena Deutsche Bank in Trump investigation

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters said in a statement that the potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes was a “very serious concern.” | Zach Gibson/Getty Images

House Democrats on Monday issued a subpoena to the German lender Deutsche Bank seeking information on President Donald Trump’s finances, a major escalation of their investigation into his business dealings.

In addition to the Deutsche Bank subpoena, House Democrats subpoenaed other banks — including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup — seeking information on Russian money laundering. The issuance of the subpoenas was first reported by The New York Times.

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The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, which authorized the subpoenas, were expected to issue additional subpoenas targeting Trump’s finances soon, Democratic aides said.

Democrats are ratcheting up their coordinated investigations into Trump’s business dealings as the Justice Department prepares to release findings from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe on Thursday.

“As part of our oversight authority and authorized investigation into allegations of potential foreign influence on the U.S. 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,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence chairman. “We look forward to their continued cooperation and compliance.”

The subpoenas are the latest example of House Democrats‘ crossing the “red line“ Trump has drawn when it comes to investigators looking into his finances and business transactions. Trump‘s attorneys have already started fighting back, warning the accounting firm Mazars USA that it should not comply with a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoena seeking the president‘s financial records.

Deutsche Bank has long been a top target for Democrats. The bank lent Trump hundreds of millions of dollars over the years for property development, and it has also been under scrutiny for its role in Russian money laundering. Democrats have said they want to know whether Russia has had financial leverage over the president via Deutsche Bank and other loans.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, said in a statement Monday that the potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes was 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 pursuant to its oversight authority, and will follow the facts wherever they may lead us,” she said.

Republicans — as expected — lashed out at the Democratic subpoenas, calling them part of “partisan fishing expeditions“ designed to hurt Trump and the GOP.

Donald Trump

“My colleagues across the aisle continue to politicize the banking industry and set out on partisan fishing expeditions,“ said Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee. “All while ignoring the issues the American people need our committee to be focused on. Republicans have repeatedly expressed our desire to work in a bipartisan manner, but today‘s actions seem driven solely by a political agenda.“

Other financial institutions had been expecting Democrats to seek further information about their relationships with Deutsche Bank, a representative of another bank said.

Deutsche Bank in a statement said that it was “in a productive dialogue with the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees.”

“We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations in a manner consistent with our legal obligations,” the bank said.

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