The breadcrumbs dropping from the Manhattan DA’s office are leading in the direction of a major financial fraud investigation into Donald Trump and his family business, Trump Org.
The latest clue stems from New York Times reporting that New York prosecutors issued a subpoena last year to Deutsche Bank, Trump’s go-to lender ever since the late ’90s. While Deutsche Bank has been the subject of numerous headlines over the past several years, this appears to be the first criminal inquiry examining Trump and his relationship with the bank, which includes more than $2 billion worth of loans over the past couple decades.
Also key: Deutsche Bank complied. The bank reportedly offered up detailed financial records over a series of months last year. That means the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, already has the records in all their glory and all the clues they might provide about where else to dig and what to dig for in a criminal probe.
That alone sets this inquiry apart.
The DA’s probe of Trump was originally thought to be more narrowly focused on the hush money payments Trump made weeks before the 2016 election to silence two women with whom he had affairs. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to executing those payments in violation of campaign finance laws. But Cohen also detailed in congressional testimony the financial schemes Trump used to illegally inflate and deflate his self-worth for banking and insurance purposes.
Earlier this week, a court filing from the DA’s office arguing to obtain eight years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from his accounting firm, Mazars USA, also contained hints of the broader financial probe. The filing referenced undisputed “public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” as a rationale for obtaining Trump’s returns.
But according to the Times, Vance’s investigation is still “at an early stage.”
Vance first sought to obtain Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from Mazars last year. The effort stalled based on legal challenges by Trump’s lawyers until a decisive 7-2 Supreme Court ruling last month rejected their argument that Trump shouldn’t have to comply with Vance’s subpoena. The ruling sent the case back down to a lower court where Trump’s lawyers can object to specific parts of the subpoena but not ignore it outright.
Manhattan prosecutors have stressed their concern that Trump’s lawyers are simply trying to run out the clock on the statute of limitations.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.