What, you thought this was going to be an article about how Special Counsel Robert Mueller got Michael Flynn to cut a deal? No, that’s last week’s news, though it’s huge, and it’s still having cascading ramifications. Instead, as of today, we’re looking at a whole new ballgame when it comes to Mueller’s approach to Donald Trump. Mueller is now doing what some thought he would never do: he’s going squarely after Trump’s financial connections to Russia.
Mueller has a subpoena for Donald Trump’s financial records to Deutsche Bank in Germany, according to reports today from several major news outlets. This isn’t just any bank. For years, Deutsche has been loaning unusually large sums of money to Trump, even after most other banks worldwide had concluded that Trump was too poor of a credit risk. Even after Deutsche fell on its own financial troubles a few years ago, it continued to loan enough money to Trump to keep him afloat.
In January, Deutsche was busted by U.S. and European regulators for laundering billions of dollars of Russian money into the hands of U.S. clients in cities like New York City. At the time, Palmer Report pointed out that this almost certainly meant Deutsche Bank’s “loans” to Donald Trump were merely a front for funneling Russian money to him, but we couldn’t prove it. Now Robert Mueller is seeking to indeed prove it. But there’s more to his subpoena than one might initially think.
Why is Mueller choosing now to go after Deutsche Bank? If we were able to figure out earlier this year that it was how Russia was funneling money to Donald Trump, then Mueller figured it out a long time ago as well. The timing of his subpoena suggests that he has something now which will allow him to use the Deutsche financial records to prove a larger money laundering trail.
Robert Mueller couldn’t have gotten this from Michael Flynn; that’s a whole different money trail. Paul Manafort could probably provide strong evidence on the Trump-Deutsche-Russia connection, but there’s no indication that Manafort has been cooperating since his arrest. This means Mueller must have some other basis for going after Deutsche Bank to get to Trump. What is it? No one knows, and that’s the whole point. Mueller has always been three steps ahead. Now he’s going for the jugular by proving that Trump really is a financial puppet of Russia.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report