Opinion

After Whistleblower Steps Forward, Trump’s Lawsuit Against Deutsche Bank Is Even More Ridiculous


Remember a few weeks ago, when the Trumps
sued Deutsche Bank to get congressional subpoenas thrown out? Well, those legal papers have not aged well.

At the time, Trump’s big argument was that Deutsche Bank should be prevented from complying with subpoenas because Congress lacked the power to issue them in the first place. Trump’s case – already an uphill battle given that he wasn’t even a party to the underlying litigation to which the subpoenas related – was an unpersuasive mélange of bad legal arguments and pathetic moaning.

Now, though, Trump’s arguments against Deutsche Bank’s turning over documents feel more ridiculous than ever. The New York Times just revealed the story of whistleblower Tammy McFadden. McFadden was a longtime anti-money laundering specialist working in Deutsche Bank’s Jacksonville office; during the course of her work reviewing questionable transactions, McFadden found that money had been moved from Jared Kushner’s real-estate companies to Russian individuals.

President Trump responded to the reports with a predictable rant.

 

According to McFadden, whose story has been verified by several other unnamed Deutsche Bank employees, her written reports about Kushner’s suspicious activity were squashed by the bank in an effort to keep business relations strong with Kushner, who’d taken out a $285 million loan just before the 2016 election.

Other Deutsche Bank employees confirmed that the shady reporting was business as usual. The bank regularly covered up reports of suspicious activity in order to protect relationships with lucrative clients. Individuals reportedly declined to name themselves so as to preserve their future career prospects.

It’s too soon to say whether Deutsche Bank’s wrongdoing rose to the level of illegality, as we don’t yet know specifics of the reported transactions or related investigations. What we do know, however, is that Trump’s argument against the Deutsche subpoenas is far more complicated than typical Trump whining about being the object of “abusive investigations and harassment.” Trump argued at length about how he was being persecuted at the hands of Democratic politicians, and how unjust all that was to members of his family, who were innocently caught in the fray. Had those arguments garnered a shred of credibility before, their time is long gone now.

Moreover, the Times report brings up another question: if Trump and Deutsche Bank both stand to be exposed by production of financial records to Congress, why aren’t they united in interest against those subpoenas? It would stand to reason that Deutsche Bank could easily be convinced that a motion to quash would be the right legal move, and would not require an entirely separate lawsuit.  Perhaps, though, that “very good and highly professional” relationship the Donald bragged about has come to a less friendly end.

[image via Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images]

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. She is a frequent media contributor, and is Of Counsel to Smedley & Lis, in Woodbury, New Jersey. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos

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