House Democrats target Trump’s personal finances


House Democrats are planning to cross one of President Donald Trump’s red lines: investigating his personal finances.

With special counsel Robert Mueller expected to wind up his probe soon, Democrats are launching an investigation to discover why Deutsche Bank was willing to lend The Trump Organization money when other banks weren’t’t and whether Russia was involved.

The German bank, which has been under scrutiny for its role in Russian money laundering, lent Trump hundreds of millions of dollars over the years for his property development ventures.

The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees have been staffing up for their probes into the bank and Trump’s alleged Russia ties. Democrats on the panels have said they are willing to pursue a key area with Deutsche Bank that Mueller might have avoided — by crossing what Trump sees as a red line into his personal finances.

“There’s a heightened need to look into anything that could compromise the president or the country, particularly if it’s not being investigated elsewhere,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told POLITICO. “I don’t know that to be the case but I just haven’t seen any external signs that that’s happening.”

Democrats won’t be confined by boundaries set by the president as they ramp up their probes, so any perceived omissions by Mueller would be prime targets for House committees.

“What does Bob Mueller know?” Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.), a member of the two committees, said. “Has he requested information from Treasury? Does he have anything from them? I don’t know one way or another. Has he requested anything directly from Deutsche Bank? There seems to be indications not, but we really don’t know.”

Democrats are skeptical that Mueller showed much interest in Deutsche Bank because of reporting last year that Trump tried to shut down the Russia investigation — prompted by news that Mueller had subpoenaed the lender — but backed down after the special counsel’s office denied the stories.

“I’m happy to be proven wrong,” Schiff said.

A spokesperson for Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the Mueller investigation but said the bank “takes its legal obligations seriously and remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations.” The White House referred questions to The Trump Organization, which did not respond to a request for comment.

In his latest financial disclosure filing, Trump reported owing Deutsche Bank at least $130 million.

House Democrats, armed with their own subpoena power, aren’t waiting for the results of Mueller’s investigation. Schiff and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) have agreed to work together on a probe of Deutsche Bank.

“We are moving forward,” Schiff said.

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