Here's why House Democrats are zeroing in on Trump's ties to a shady German bank
Democrats have promised to follow the money relentlessly in their House Intelligence 2.0 probe of Donald Trump’s Russia ties, and Deutsche Bank is taking center stage in that inquiry.
"Deutsche Bank is of great interest," House Intelligence member Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois told CNN Monday. "Deutsche Bank was apparently the only bank willing to do business with the Trump financial world." Quigley went to observe that "if the president was compromised, he was compromised from a financial point of view."
Deutsche Bank is widely suspected of engaging in a money laundering scheme for its Russian clients. German police raided the bank's Berlin offices last November as part of a sweeping money laundering probe. The bank allegedly serviced more than 900 customers who did a total of about $350 million in business through a subsidiary in the British Virgin Islands.
As House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff noted in an NBC interview last year, Deutsche Bank has already paid "hundreds of millions of dollars in fines to the state of New York, because they were laundering Russian money. And this apparently is the one bank that was willing to do business with the Trump Organization."
In support of Schiff's new probe into Trump's financial entanglements with Russia, he has brought in more than a dozen new staffers for the panel with "expertise in corruption or illicit finance, or prosecutorial experience," according to The Atlantic'sNatasha Bertrand. The House Intel panel's number of dedicated staffers working on the financial inquiry now totals 24 people. By contrast, the Senate Intelligence panel has had just nine staffers dedicated to working the investigation, and they reportedly did not have the financial expertise that those joining the House panel do.
If there's one thing the first two years of Trump-Russia investigations have done, it's that they’ve focused the mind on where the real trap doors lie. Trump's long-time obsession with building a tower in Moscow and his dependence on both Russian money and Deutsche Bank lending are two areas that are poised to get a lot more scrutiny.
As Schiff told NBC last fall of Trump's Deutsche Bank cash flow, "If this is a form of compromise, it needs to be exposed.”