Here's Why Mueller Subpoena Targeting Trump's Businesses Could Be Dangerous for the President

News & Politics

The new report that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents relating to Russia and other subjects of the investigation could be terrible news for President Donald Trump.

The New York Times said in a story published Thursday that Mueller issued the subpoena as the scope of the investigation has broadened to examine potential ties to foreign sources of campaign funding. 

The Trump Organization's lawyer told the Times, “This is old news and our assistance and cooperation with the various investigations remains the same today.”

Reports suggest that the company has so far cooperated and handed over requested materials, and the Times says the organization doesn't appear to be looking to fight the subpoena. Though it is standard practice in these sorts of cases for investigators to issue subpoenas, it's not obvious why it would be necessary if the Trump Organization were completely forthcoming with all of the special counsel's requests.

Mueller's action is likely to make Trump nervous, as Mueller is empowered to pursue "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation."

Trump has previously said Mueller should not investigate his businesses on any subject unrelated to Russia—suggesting he may feel he has something to hide. But Mueller will likely go where the evidence takes him. Like Paul Manafort and Rick Gates before him, Trump could potentially find himself accused of financial crimes unrelated to the 2016 election. 

Previous reports said that Mueller had requested documents related to the Trump family from Deutsche Bank; the latest subpoenas could help confirm information found there. Deutsche Bank was the one financial institution that was still willing to lend to Trump after his many bankruptcies scared other banks away. That certainly looks suspicious—but whether Mueller actually discovers any wrongdoing may not be known for some time.

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