Donald Trump’s personal banking information has formally been turned over to Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating whether the president’s campaign conspired with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election.
Bloomberg reported early on Tuesday that Deutsche Bank, the German bank that serves as Trump’s biggest lender, had been forced to submit documents about its client relationship with the president after Mueller issued the bank with a subpoena for information.
The new revelation makes it clear that Mueller and his team are investigating the president’s financial transactions. It is not clear whether Mueller is interested in the bank accounts because they are connected to the Russia probe or if he is investigating another matter.
The news could also elicit a strong reaction from the president, who has previously said that any attempt to investigate his personal business dealings would go beyond Mueller’s investigative mandate and would represent a “violation”.
Trump has consistently denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia and has stated that he did not have any business dealings in Russia. Since then, news has emerged that the Trump Organization sold a significant number of its properties to Russian clients and explored opening a hotel in Moscow, though the plan never came to fruition.
The president has repeatedly criticised the Mueller investigation and, this weekend, alleged that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters”. The attack followed the guilty plea of Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who is now cooperating with federal investigators.
Mueller’s investigators have, according to previous media reports, examined Russian purchases of Trump-owned apartments, the president’s involvement with Russian associates in a development in SoHo, New York, and the president’s 2008 sale of his Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev.
News of the subpoena was not unexpected. The Guardian reported in July that executives at the bank were anticipating they would receive a formal demand for banking records about the president and had already established informal contacts with Mueller’s investigators.
But the development nevertheless represents a significant blow to the president personally and indicates that Mueller is not limiting his probe to Trump campaign officials.
Deutsche Bank has for months been the subject of intense scrutiny – especially by Democrats on Capitol Hill – because of its dealings with the president and his family, who are also clients. Trump owes the bank about $300m in loans that were extended to him before he became president.
The Guardian reported in February that the bank had launched a review of Trump’s account earlier this year to gauge whether there were any connections to Russia and had not discovered anything suspicious.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser in the White House; her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a presidential adviser; and Kushner’s mother, Seryl Stadtmauer, are all clients of Deutsche Bank.