The president is already facing huge challenges when it comes to reclaiming the Oval Office in November. Former vice president and Democratic candidate Joe Biden has been recently leading in the polls, and now it seems that a criminal investigation into Trump’s business affairs isn’t going away.
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that New York prosecutors have subpoenaed Trump’s longtime lender, Deutsche Bank. This signals that their criminal investigation is more extensive than previously known.
Initially, the investigation focused on hush money payments made to two women in 2016, but now it appears to be looking into additional crimes. According to The Times, in a court filing this week, the district attorney’s office cited:
‘Public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization’
The Times reported:
‘Because of its longstanding and multifaceted relationship with Mr. Trump, Deutsche Bank has been a frequent target of regulators and lawmakers digging into the president’s opaque finances. But the subpoena from the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., appears to be the first instance of a criminal inquiry involving Mr. Trump and his dealings with the German bank, which lent him and his company more than $2 billion over the past two decades.’
Deutsche Bank complied with the subpoena and over several months last year, provided Mr. Vance’s office with detailed records which included financial statements and other materials that Trump had provided to the bank as he sought loans.
The bank’s response is an indicator of the seriousness of the legal threat the district attorney’s investigation poses for Mr. Trump and his family, and his company.
The district attorney’s office has spent the past year trying to obtain the president’s personal and corporate tax returns. Last month, the Supreme Court upheld the right of prosecutors to seek that information.
Without the tax returns though, the investigation would be stalled. Carey R. Dunne, a senior prosecutor under Mr. Vance, told the judge:
‘It’s been nearly a year since we served our subpoena, and this lawsuit’s been very successful since then in delaying our ability to gather the central evidence.’
Dunne continued saying that this delay made it:
‘ever more likely that the grand jury will be prevented from evaluating the evidence before the statutes of limitation expire.’
In early 2019, Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, testified on Capitol Hill that the president had inflated the value of his assets at times in order to receive financing from Deutsche Bank. Cohen also mentioned that the Trump Organization had filed insurance claims that he believed to have been inflated.
According to The Times:
‘Last month, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to congressional investigations into the president’s finances when it ordered lower courts to reconsider whether Deutsche Bank and Mazars USA, Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, had to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking his records. The ruling meant that the subpoenas would not be enforced until after the presidential election in November, if at all.’
When Manhattan prosecutors receive documents, they are subject to grand jury secrecy rules and might not become public unless the district attorney’s office brings charges and introduces the documents as evidence at a trial.