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Dems Prod Hensarling to Subpoena Deutsche Bank in Russia Probe

WASHINGTON – Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee on Friday demanded that Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) subpoena Deutsche Bank in pursuit of documents they believe will reveal improper dealings between President Trump and Russia.

Democratic Ranking Member Maxine Waters (Calif.), who joined four other lawmakers in sending the letter to Hensarling, has repeatedly sought information on the German lender’s so-called Russian mirror trading scheme, which allegedly took place between 2011 and 2015. Deutsche Bank in January agreed to pay more than $600 million in penalties for its involvement in a reported $10 billion money laundering scheme with Russians.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is currently leading a special counsel investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during what U.S. intelligence agencies agreed was a wide campaign influence operation waged by Moscow.

The group of Democrats – which included Vice Ranking Member Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) – in Friday’s letter noted that Hensarling has used his authority to issue 21 subpoenas for various documents and testimony since April. They described how in March 2015 the chairman “vigorously defended” the usefulness and necessity of committee subpoena authority in carrying out constitutional duties.

“It is in furtherance of this Committee’s oversight responsibilities that we call on you to commence an investigation and to use your subpoena powers to obtain the documents that Deutsche Bank is currently withholding from the Committee,” reads the letter, which was signed by Reps. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.), Al Green (D-Texas) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).

Anders Åslund, a scholar at the Atlantic Council and former economic adviser to the Russian Federation who has studied Russian corruption, said in an interview Monday that he believes Republicans will be forced to concede and subpoena Deutsche Bank. However, he believes Mueller will obtain the information first, given that he can gather that information independent of Congress. The German lender’s financing of Trump will be a key element to the Mueller investigation of the president, he added.

“There is serious speculation that a Russian state bank has guaranteed Deutsche Bank's loans to Trump and (Senior White House Adviser Jared) Kushner,” Åslund said.

Reuters reported earlier this year that Trump has accumulated $315.6 million in liabilities to German, American and other lenders. About $130 million of that is owned by Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.

The lawmakers contend that getting to the bottom of the matter is “critical to retaining the trust and confidence of Americans who rightfully question the threat to our democracy that could result from Russian financial and political interference.”

Trump and his inner circle have blasted the investigation as a baseless, political “witch hunt.” Waters first raised the subpoena issue with Hensarling in March, calling on the chairman to initiate a “thorough, objective, and bipartisan investigation” into the Deutsche Bank scheme. Without a response on that request, Waters in May wrote to Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan requesting documents about the personal accounts of Trump and his family, as well as information on two internal reviews concerning the mirror scheme.