- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The White House has refuted reports that special counsel Robert Mueller ordered Germany’s Deutsche Bank to surrender President Trump’s banking records.

The news rocked Washington on Tuesday as speculation ran rampant that Mr. Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling was now directly focused on Mr. Trump — and specifically his long and complicated history as a real estate developer.

But Mr. Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, refuted Tuesday’s report by the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, which detailed how Mr. Trump’s largest lender had received a subpoena several weeks ago from Mr. Mueller, though the newspaper said it wasn’t clear whether the account data sought was about Mr. Trump or his associates.

“No subpoena has been issued or received,” Mr. Sekulow said. “We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”

While Deutsche Bank had not commented on the matter late Tuesday, Bloomberg News was reporting that the firm was cooperating with investigators without specifically naming the Trump case.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders also brushed aside both stories as “completely false.”

The former FBI director’s probe is scrutinizing alleged attempts by the Kremlin to influence the 2016 presidential election in addition to probing possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Moscow, which both side have repeatedly denied.

In the past month, Mr. Mueller brought money-laundering charges against two former campaign staffers, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, with crimes committed before they ever joined forces with President Trump.

Late last week, his probe veered onto a collision course with the White House by getting a guilty plea from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI.

In the past the White White House has issued stern warnings to Mr. Mueller about the parameters of his inquiry. In July, Mr. Trump told The New York Times that he would consider it “a violation” if Mr. Mueller investigated his business or family finances beyond any relationship with Russia.

Deutsche Bank is the president’s largest lender, and has extended his Trump Organization hundreds of millions of dollars for real estate ventures after Wall Street soured on him because of a string of hotel and casino bankruptcies.

The president’s defenders have vigorously argued that these past business dealings have no relevance to the Mueller Russia probe.

In June, Deutsche Bank, which also has Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner as a client, rejected requests for details about the president’s finances from Democrats in the House of Representatives. The bank cited privacy laws.

On Capitol Hill Tuesday, Democrats from the House Intelligence Committee weighed in on the possible subpoena, saying an exploring of the presidents’ finances was long overdue.

“It’s about time,” Rep. Eric Swalwell of California said to The Washington Times.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California told The Times that the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., had bragged in the past about the Trump Organization securing significant funding from Russians in the past.

“If Russia laundered money through the Trump Organization, and used it as leverage against the president or any his associates or family — it would be far more compromising than any salacious video ever could be,” Mr. Schiff added.

Bloomberg clarified Wednesday that the records collected from Deutsche Bank were of those associated with Mr. Trump, according to a source. The news outlet originally reported that the records collected pertained to Mr. Trump and his family, but members of the president’s legal team disputed that.

AFP reported the subpoena pertained to the special counsel’s case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was charged with conspiracy against the U.S. and money laundering earlier this summer. The charges are unrelated to Mr. Manafort’s work on the campaign.

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