The New York attorney general is the latest official to open a wide-ranging investigation into Trump's shady dealings.
Late Monday night, the attorney general of New York, Letitia James, dropped new subpoenas on two banks, Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank. Those banks are connected to four different Trump Organization projects, including Trump's unsuccessful attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills. It's all part of the fallout from Michael Cohen's congressional testimony.
When Cohen, Trump's former fixer, testified before Congress two weeks ago, he stated that Trump inflated his net worth on financial statements. In fact, Cohen said that Trump gave Deutsche Bank falsified statements that overstated his net worth by $4 billion when he was angling to purchase the Bills.
Apparently, even Deutsche Bank, which loaned Trump money when no one else would, knew Trump's estimations of his wealth were absurd. Officials at the bank viewed his estimates as "wildly optimistic," and they would usually decrease them by as much as 70 percent.
Of course, Deutsche Bank is also notorious for being implicated in Russian money laundering, a fact which has already led to a different investigation into Trump's finances. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said last month that his committee was looking into Deutsche Bank's connection with Trump, particularly because it was "the one bank that was willing to do business with the Trump Organization."
The most recent subpoena issued to Deutsche Bank isn't about the Bills, though. Instead, it opens yet another frontier in the investigations into Trump's shady business dealings. It demands the bank provide the attorney general with information about lines of credit, applications, and mortgages for Trump's hotels in Washington D.C., Doral, Florida, and Chicago. Investors Bank was asked for records relating to Trump Park Avenue.
Besides both Congress and the state of New York investigating his dealings with Deutsche Bank, Trump also faces investigations from Maryland's attorney general and federal prosecutors in New York. That's on top of the myriad investigations from various House committees.
The attorney general's investigation is civil, not criminal. However, James has the power, under New York law, to investigate fraud and to issue fines. She even has the power to ask a court to dissolve a business that repeatedly engages in illegal behavior. And since this is both at the state, not federal, level and because this is a civil investigation, it isn't a situation that Trump can solve by pardoning anyone.
Prior to being elected, Trump could conduct his business in the shadows. Even after being elected, a GOP-controlled Congress ran interference for him at every turn. Now, with Democrats in charge of the House, with state attorneys general flexing their investigative and enforcement muscle, his time is up.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.