Deutsche Bank Confirms It Has Trump-Related Tax Returns
“Deutsche Bank has been unique in loaning money to Trump and often for reasons that are difficult to fathom.”
The latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle to unearth President Trump’s tax returns found German bank Deutsche Bank confirming it has some of the financial records requested by House Democrats on Tuesday. The bank did not confirm who exactly the records belong to, and courts will have to rule in Congress’ favor in order to release them.
Deutsche Bank is known to have worked uniquely close with Trump over the past few decades and had been subpoenaed by Congressional Democrats investigating the president’s financial records. Trump and three of his children sued to prevent the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees from unearthing the records, and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently reviewing the legality of the subpoenas.
“There could be a lot of trouble there for Mr. Trump,” John Dean, a white house counsel to President Nixon who helped orchestrate the Watergate scandal, told CNN on Tuesday night.
Dean spoke about the damaging information the returns could contain, such as evidence of fraud and corruption or proof that the president’s fortune is much smaller than he claims. Dean also included connections to “unsavory people” who could have been collateral signatures on loans as a reason for Trump’s intense resistance to letting his records be made public.
“Deutsche Bank has been unique in loaning money to Trump,” David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who has covered Trump for decades, told MSNBC on Tuesday, “and often for reasons that are difficult to fathom, which in my mind, has always raised the question ‘were they making loans as a favor to someone else in the background- say, a Russian oligarch or the Saudi Royal Family.”
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell fueled further speculation about Deutsche Bank being at the core of Trump-Russia collusion on Tuesday night, claiming an anonymous source told him that Trump’s loans were underwritten by Russian oligarchs.
“This single source close to Deutsche Bank has told me that the Trump — Donald Trump’s loan documents there show that he has co-signers. That’s how he was able to obtain those loans. And that the co-signers are Russian oligarchs.”
Later in the show he repeated the claim, saying: “The source close to Deutsche Bank says that the co-signers of Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.”
O’Donnell’s claim has not been corroborated by other journalists, and MSNBC has been criticized in the past for its flawed and overstated reporting on Russia-Trump collusion. Deutsche Bank declined to comment on O’Donnell’s statement.
That said, the bank is facing legal action for its role in the laundering of at least $20 billion from Russian criminals tied to the Kremlin. The U.S. and U.K. levied $630 million fines on Deutsche for a separate money-laundering scheme out of Moscow in 2017.
David Rothkopf, a journalist and international relations professor, is one of the reporters who believes O’Donnell’s claim.
“If the only way Trump’s business could survive was with borrowed money and they could only do it if they had co-signers and the only people who would co-sign were Russian oligarchs…you get the drift? He was dependent on them. They, very nearly literally, own him,” tweeted Rothkopf.
Deutsche Bank recently came under additional scrutiny for its ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the high-profile child sex trafficker who died under mysterious circumstances in the Manhattan Metropolitan Center on August 10.
Update: O’Donnell retracted his claim on Wednesday, tweeting: “Last night I made an error in judgment by reporting an item about the president’s finances that didn’t go through our rigorous verification and standards process. I shouldn’t have reported it and I was wrong to discuss it on the air. I will address the issue on my show tonight.”