In Move to 'Follow the Money,' Mueller Issued Subpoena for Trump's Personal Banking Info

Robert Mueller III testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a oversight hearing on Capitol Hill. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

In Move to 'Follow the Money,' Mueller Issued Subpoena for Trump's Personal Banking Info

Commentators praised the move but warned that it "greatly ramps up risk" that Trump could fire the special counsel

In yet another indication that special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe is expanding and intensifying, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Deutsche Bank--President Donald Trump's biggest lender--faced with a subpoena issued several weeks ago has been forced "to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family."

The reporting is based on a "person briefed on the matter" who asked not to be identified as the action had not been publicly announced. According to Bloomberg:

Deutsche Bank for months has rebuffed calls by Democratic lawmakers to provide more transparency over the roughly $300 million Trump owed to the bank for his real estate dealings prior to becoming president. Representative Maxine Waters of California and other Democrats have asked whether the bank's loans to Trump, made years before he ran for president, were in any way connected to Russia. The bank previously rejected those demands, saying sharing client data would be illegal unless it received a formal request to do so. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Mueller's decision to hone in on Trump's finances--described by Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington as a move to "follow the money"--indicates that his investigation is "entering a new phase," Bloomberg adds.

The subpoena also demonstrates that Mueller is plowing through Trump's so-called "red line," which the president attempted to establish in an interview with the New York Times in July. Trump argued that any attempt to look into his or his family's finances would constitute a "violation."

"My finances are extremely good," Trump claimed.

As Common Dreams has reported, most Americans disagree strongly with the president's insistence that the special counsel should be barred from probing his banking information. According to a poll published in August, 70 percent of Americans believe Mueller should be free to investigate Trump's financial dealings.

While Trump has been quick to slam recent developments related to the Russia probe on Twitter, as of this writing the president has not responded to reports that his financial information has been turned over to Mueller.

Norm Eisen, former White House ethics lawyer and chair of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, warned that while Mueller's subpoena is a necessary step, it also "greatly ramps up risk of firing"--a sentiment that was echoed by others.

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