Follow the money: banks are complying with congressional subpoenas for Trump’s financial records

0
264

Donald Trump and his new “fixer,” Attorney General William “Coverup” Barr, have engaged in a policy of “total obstruction” of Congress — an impeachable offense under Article III of the Nixon impeachment — in obstructing Congress at every turn to prevent the disclosure of the financial records of the Trump crime family to Congress fo legitimate oversight.

For all of their abuses of power, their efforts appear to be failing, because financial institutions are not agreeing to aid and abet this crime. These financial institutions have their own issues of legal liability with which to be concerned, and are complying with congressional subpoenas to produce Trump financial records to Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reports Banks Hand Over Documents on Russians Possibly Linked to Trump (subscription required):

Major Wall Street banks have given congressional committees investigating President Trump thousands of pages of documents related to Russians who may have had dealings with Trump, his family or his business, people familiar with the congressional probes said.

Some banks are also giving documents related to Trump’s business, the Trump organization, to New York state investigators, people familiar with the New York investigation said.

Wall Street firms including Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo have recently provided thousands of financial documents related to Russians who may have had dealings with Trump or his family or his business to congressional investigators, according to people familiar with the congressional probes.

The investigators are working on a joint probe into potential foreign influence on Trump and his family by the House Financial Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. More information will likely be handed over in coming weeks as the banks continue to respond to subpoenas sent in April, the people said.

Separately, Deutsche Bank, Trump’s primary bank, has turned over emails, loan agreements and other documents related to the Trump organization to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, in response to a civil subpoena sent earlier this year, according to people familiar with the New York investigation.

James’s office has also in recent weeks received financing documents and emails from Investors Bancorp, the people said. The Short Hills, New Jersey, regional bank handed over thousands of pages in response to a civil subpoena demanding information on a 2010 mortgage on Trump Park Avenue, a condominium building in Manhattan owned by Trump, the people said.

Trump has filed several lawsuits seeking to block lawmakers and states from getting access to his bank, accounting and tax records. The documents being provided by the banks could give investigators some of the same information Trump is trying to block.

Trump is fighting in court to try to stop Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial, two of the banks with the most information on his business, from handing over information to Congress. A federal appeals court in New York is due this month to consider a challenge by Trump, his three oldest children and his business to subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees seeking records from the two banks. The banks have said they aren’t taking any position on whether they should be compelled to provide information.

Another federal appeals court last month considered a bid by Trump and the Trump organization to block a subpoena issued by the House Oversight Committee seeking eight years’ worth of financial statements and other records from Mazars USA, Trump’s longtime accounting firm. Mazars said in a statement it will “respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations”.

Trump also last month sued the Democratic-led US House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the New York attorney general, to block the disclosure of years of his state tax returns.

Committee investigators are reviewing the documents provided to Congress so far by the Wall Street firms, House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters (D., Calif.), said in an interview in June. “We’ve gotten [information] from a lot of banks.”

Senior Democrat House intelligence committee officials said last month they are looking for evidence of foreign influence on the administration “whether it was during the campaign, the transition, the inauguration or currently.” Democrats are looking in particular for any evidence of Russian money going into Trump properties, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Trump has accused New York’s James, a Democrat who took office in January, of “harassing all of my New York businesses” to make him look bad. James responded in a tweet that “no one is above the law, not even the President.”

That’s exactly what a mob boss would say, “The cops are harassing me.” Recall that in December 2018, Trump Foundation Will Dissolve, Accused of ‘Shocking Pattern of Illegality’:

The Donald J. Trump Foundation, once billed as the charitable arm of the president’s financial empire, agreed to dissolve on Tuesday and give away all its remaining assets under court supervision as part of an ongoing investigation and lawsuit by the New York attorney general.

The foundation was accused by the attorney general, Barbara Underwood, of “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” and of engaging in “a shocking pattern of illegality” that included unlawfully coordinating with Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

In addition to shuttering the charity, her office has pursued a lawsuit that could bar President Trump and his three oldest children from the boards of other New York charities, as well as force the payment of millions in restitution and penalties.

Ms. Underwood and a lawyer for the Trump foundation signed the stipulation agreeing to the dissolution.

“We’ll continue to move our suit forward,” Ms. Underwood said, “to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”

Trump has publicly declared that he was exonerated by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year probe into alleged Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. Mueller in his report said he was not exonerating Trump.

More importantly, Mueller testified that his investigation did not include investigating Donald Trump’s finances for potential foreign influence, which is odd, since he prosecuted Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project.

Trump acknowledged in an interview with The New York Times that there was a certain red line he thought special counsel Robert Mueller shouldn’t cross while carrying out the Russia investigation: digging into his finances. I believe that the yet untold story of the Mueller investigation is that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein enforced Trump’s red line by limiting the scope of Mueller’s investigation. Someday we will know for certain.

The New York attorney general’s subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bancorp are part of a civil investigation, which could yield fines or other civil actions if the office alleges illegality. The Deutsche Bank documents relate to three mortgages the bank extended to Trump’s business, as well as proposed financing that didn’t go through, people familiar with the New York investigation said. CNN reported earlier this year that Deutsche Bank had begun providing financial records to the New York attorney general.

The congressional and state investigations are seeking different types of information. The congressional subpoenas being contested in court are seeking a broad range of financial documents from the Trump family. In contrast, the documents being turned over to the New York attorney general involve loans to the Trump organization, according to people familiar with the New York investigation.

This is the investigation spurred by Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony that Trump overstated the value of his assets to obtain bank loans, but understated the value of his assets for the payment of taxes. Cohen testified that Trump also lied to insurers. The New York Attorney General is looking into bank fraud, insurance fraud, tax fraud, and tax evasion.

The information already handed to Congress by banks includes records on Russian business people connected to a Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 involving members of Trump’s family, the people familiar with the congressional probes said.

The meeting, set up at the request of a billionaire Russian-Azerbaijani real-estate developer’s family, became a focal point in the Mueller investigation. The investigation didn’t establish that anyone affiliated with the Trump presidential campaign knowingly conspired with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, the report said.

The evidence was “not sufficient” only because, as the Mueller report states, “several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office of Special Counsel, and to Congress” … “some individuals invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination” … the Office of Special Counsel limited its pursuit of other witnesses and information – such as information known to attorneys or individuals claiming to be members of the media” … some of the information “was presumptively covered by legal privilege and was screened from investigators by a filter (or “taint” team) … the Office of Special Counsel “faced practical limits on its ability to access relevant evidence,” i.e., witnesses who lived abroad or documents held outside the United states … some of the individuals associated with the Trump Campaign “deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records” … “given these identified gaps, the Office of Special Counsel cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report.”

The congressional subpoenas are also seeking any information the banks may have about Russians connected to conversations the Trump organization officials had about a potential real-estate development in Moscow, one person familiar with the matter said. The Trump organization had explored the possibility of a new Trump Tower in Moscow before and during the campaign, and Mueller reported on the discussions about that project.

Mueller also prosecuted Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, for lying about it to Congress.

Donald Trump has a long track record of failed businesses, bankruptcies and shady financial dealings — the reason that no bank but Deutsche Bank will loan him money — the bank has a long track record of laundering money for Russian oligarchs. Trump’s own sons bragged about how the Russians were propping up his failing business. Donald Trump, Jr. said a decade ago that a lot of the family’s assets came from Russia, and Eric Trump Bragged About Access to $100 Million in Russian Money: “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” Michael Hirsh explained How Russian Money Helped Save Trump’s Business.

Follow the money, the evidence is all there if you look hard enough and dig deep enough. No one familiar with the Trump organization has any doubts that he is dirty.




Leave a Reply