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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Democrats Said to Subpoena Nine Banks in Probe of Trump Finances

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House Democrats’ investigations into President Donald Trump’s finances and potential money laundering tied to Russia have prompted them to demand documents from nine banking giants, according to people familiar with the matter.

The House Financial Services Committee, led by Representative Maxine Waters, has issued subpoenas to U.S. lenders JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., and Capital One Financial Corp., said the people.

Foreign banks that received information requests included Deutsche Bank AG, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto Dominion Bank, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the subpoenas aren’t public.

The financial services panel’s requests were made in collaboration with Representative Adam Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, which is focused on probing whether Russia sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Waters’ investigation is broader, digging into whether banks are illegally helping Russian clients move money out of the country, people familiar with the matter have said.

That nine banks have received subpoenas was revealed in a letter that was made public Wednesday from Representative Patrick McHenry, the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, to Waters. Previously, the identities of only four of the firms, including Deutsche Bank, had been publicly divulged.

The Wall Street Journal earlier Wednesday reported the number of banks subpoenaed and their names, as well as McHenry’s letter.

Probing Trump’s business dealings has been a priority for Democrats since his surprise election win more than two years ago. Democrats became empowered to subpoena records from banks and other entities after they took over the House majority in January. Deutsche Bank, which lent Trump some $340 million, has been a primary target.

Read more: A QuickTake on the investigations of President Trump

Waters said in an April 15 statement that the risk of the U.S. banking system being exploited for illicit activities is a “very serious concern.” The California Democrat said her committee intends to scrutinize whether Trump and his associates were involved in illegal transactions.

Eric Trump, the president’s son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said this week that the subpoenas set a “horrible precedent,” while McHenry criticized Waters Wednesday for issuing the bank subpoenas without input from GOP lawmakers.

McHenry’s letter to Waters also took issue with what he sees as private agreements between various Democratic committee chairs on how to divvy up their investigations of the Trump administration — with little input from Republicans on such things as subpoenas.

“I am concerned that our committee is moving away from the shared goals of oversight towards bending to the political whims of others,” he wrote to Waters. “Oversight should not be partisan. That is why I sent an oversight letter at the beginning of this Congress to Deutsche Bank requesting documents related to various money laundering schemes.”

Spokesmen for the five banks not previously identified — Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Capital One, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank — either declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment after normal business hours. Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank has said it’s committed to cooperating with the congressional investigations.

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