Donald Trump’s banking information has formally been turned over to Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating whether the president’s campaign conspired with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election.
Deutsche Bank, the German bank that serves as Trump’s biggest lender, was forced to submit documents about its client relationship with the president and some of his family members, who are also Deutsche clients, after Mueller issued the bank with a subpoena for information, according to multiple media reports. The news was first reported by Handelsblatt, the German newspaper.
The revelation makes it clear that Mueller and his team are investigating the president’s finances. Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, is also a client.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment. The bank told Bloomberg in a statement that it always cooperated with investigating authorities.
Legal experts who are following the investigation said it showed Mueller was “following the money” in his search for possible links between the presidential campaign and the Kremlin.
It also indicated that any investigation into Trump personally may not be limited to the question of whether or not the president sought to obstruct justice when he fired the former FBI chief James Comey.
Instead, said Ryan Goodman, a New York law professor and former Pentagon counsel, it showed that Mueller was possibly examining whether the president could be compromised by Russian interests.
“Deutsche Bank relates to the Russia collusion investigation,” Goodman said.
He pointed to the bank’s known relationships with Russian oligarchs and its previous dealings in Moscow among reasons why Mueller would be interested in having access to Trump’s bank accounts. The president was in the past loaned about $300m by the bank. His indebtedness, Goodman said, means that Mueller will want to examine if there are any connections between Russia and the president’s financial vulnerabilities.