Early in the European trading session, German media reported and Bloomberg confirmed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank several weeks ago for details of transactions involving President Donald Trump, as well as documents relating to any accounts he might hold there. It was already widely known that DB was one of the few remaining large Wall Street banks that would still lend to Trump following his brush with bankruptcy in the 1990s, and it's believed that DB is perhaps the only global bank to have extended large amounts of credit to Trump within the past decade.
When asked for a statement, Deutsche Bank issued a cryptic response where it neither confirmed nor denied the existance of a Trump subpoena. And now, Trump's own attorney is denying the story, saying he spoke with representatives from DB and they confirmed that no such subpoena had been issued.
Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, said Deutsche Bank has not received any subpoena for financial records relating to the president as part of Mueller’s probe, according to Reuters.
“We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false,” Sekulow told Reuters in a statement. “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources."
Sekulow later said the bank in question was Deutsche Bank. A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.
Deutsche Bank has said only that it takes “its legal obligations seriously and remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations into this matter.”
According to initial reports, a US official with knowledge of Mueller’s probe said the subpoenas were issued to find out whether Deutsche Bank may have sold some of Trump’s mortgage or other loans to Russian state development bank VEB or other Russian banks that are now facing US and European sanctions.
VEB, as well as the Russian Agricultural Bank and Gazprombank did not immediately reply to emailed requests for comment.
“No one from the VTB Group representatives has received a subpoena because there are absolutely no grounds for it,” a bank representative said in response to a request from Reuters. “Deutsche Bank did not contact us regarding people connected with the Trump administration.” Holding Trump's debt would potentially give banks leverage. Though a soure close to DB told Reuters the bank had "run checks" on Trump's financial dealings with Russia.
As Reuters pointed out, during a photo opportunity with senators at the White House on Tuesday, Trump declined to answer shouted questions from reporters about whether Mueller had crossed a line by asking Deutsche Bank for information. Trump has said in interviews that his finances should be off limits to Mueller unless they were somehow directly related. Trump obviously fears that the Mueller team - which has a reputation for its seive-like handling of sensitive information - would let his tax returns or other sensitive financial documents fall into the hands of journalists.
Asked if delving into his and his family’s finances unrelated to the Russia probe would cross a red line, Trump replied, “I would say yeah. I would say yes.”
Deutsche Bank earlier this year rebuffed efforts by Democratic U.S. lawmakers to get more information on its dealings with Trump as well as any information it may have about whether the Republican, his family or advisers had financial backing from Russia.
Trump had liabilities of at least $130 million to Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, a unit of the German bank, according to a federal financial disclosure form released in June by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. Those include a loan exceeding $50 million for the Old Post Office, a historic property he redeveloped in downtown Washington, mortgages worth more than $55 million on a golf course in Florida, and a $25 million-plus loan on a Trump hotel and condominium in Chicago.