One of the things that was made clear in Michael Cohen’s testimony to Congress was that Donald Trump has committed bank fraud. Just like his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, Trump provided banks with purposely incorrect information about his assets, debts, and total net worth. And yet, one of those banks—Deutsche Bank—gave Trump loans even after he had defaulted on previous loans to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. It gave Trump loans even after Trump sued it. The question of why Deutsche Bank would give Trump a loan long after every other bank had turned its back is one of the factors that’s resulted in a subpoena for Trump’s loan applications—a subpoena Trump is now suing to block, by suing Deutsche Bank.
But, as Bloomberg points out, one of the things that Deutsche Bank got a peek at before cutting one of those giant checks to Trump was his tax returns. Two sources inform Bloomberg that for a 2012 application, Deutsche Bank asked for, and got, a look at the tax forms before agreeing to a loan for the Trump Organization.
How much of Trump’s tax returns are featured in the documents that Deutsche Bank retained from that application isn’t clear, but it seems likely that, no matter how hard Steven Mnuchin guards the door at the IRS, Deutsche Banksters may still hand over critical portions of Trump’s taxes that will give Congress the insight into Trump’s finances it’s been seeking.
That helps to explain why Trump has filed suit to keep the bank from providing any financial information, just as he has also moved to block his accountants from turning over any information. Not only could the Deutsche Bank application show that Trump committed a crime for which Manafort has already been convicted and sentenced, it could reveal … whatever it is that Trump has been hiding in his taxes from day one.
And for extra fun, there’s the issue of how Deutsche Bank got a chance to review Trump’s tax records: blame it on Ivanka.
Trump’s daughter was the “primary contact” for the Trump Organization on the loan. Which was probably a pretty good idea, considering that this was the first time Trump approached Deutsche Bank since the 2008 real estate meltdown, and the first time since Trump tried to wiggle out of obligations by suing Deutsche Bank. It was Ivanka who provided the bank with financial documents to support a loan request for over $100 million.
Deutsche Bank turned her down. So to bolster her appeal, Ivanka put Donald Trump’s personal assets on the line. That required due diligence into Trump’s personal finances. And that meant Deutsche Bank officials met with the Trump Organization’s CFO, Allen Weisselberg, and got information from its taxes—information that seems to have done the trick in netting the loan.
It’s entirely possible that there’s nothing magic in Trump’s taxes. Certainly it’s exceedingly unlikely that he has itemized 1099 forms detailing his nonemployee payments from Vladimir Putin, or listed the deductions he took for sending representatives to Moscow.
What’s much more likely is that Trump simply committed crimes. And lots of them.
After all, Trump committed crimes with his “charity” organization, requiring him to close his foundation and negotiate a settlement. Trump committed crimes with his “university,” requiring him to close his scam and negotiate a settlement. Trump committed crimes with his Atlantic City casinos, requiring him to pay a record fine and … closing those down didn’t require a court order, since Trump simply ran them out of business.
Every peek the public has been allowed into Trump’s finances has done nothing but reveal a list of crimes, from minor to major, and scandals from large to larger. A look at his taxes is likely to provide a mother lode of information on ways that Trump has cheated the government, as well as contractors, banks, and investors. Because of course Trump lied. Trump always lies. It’s already clear from the Cohen testimony that Trump committed bank fraud.
What’s going to be interesting is finding the other crimes.