Now that Democrats have control of the House and are poised to investigate Donald Trump’s finances, a new report shows that one of his primary sources of funding over the years, Deutsche Bank, rejected a significant loan request in 2016 as Trump ran for president.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that Trump attempted to obtain a multimillion-dollar loan expansion from the bank to fund renovations at a golf property Trump owns in Turnberry, Scotland. The loan request, in early 2016, came as the then presidential candidate was winning key state battles, including in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, the newspaper said.
Also at the time, Trump had been lending tens of millions of dollars to his campaign while spending heavily on his many luxury properties.
Since 1998, Deutsche Bank has participated in loans to the Trump Organization totaling a staggering $2.5 billion, according to the Times and The Wall Street Journal. The Trumps turned to the bank when no other financial institutions would lend to them due to their abysmal track record on previous businesses, including several bankruptcies at Trump hotels and casinos.
According to the Journal, entities affiliated with Trump had more than $300 million in borrowings from Deutsche Bank during Trump’s presidential candidacy.
Another source of funding for the Trump Organization over the years, according to statements by Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., was Russia. Golf writer James Dodson has said that in 2014, Eric Trump told him during a round of golf, “We have all the funding we need out of Russia…We just go there all the time.” Eric Trump has since denied that claim.
In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. noted, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets.”
Last year, The Washington Post reported that in the nine years prior to Trump announcing his presidential campaign, the Trump Organization spent more than $400 million in cash on real estate deals. Yes, cash.
And one more piece of important background to the latest news: In January 2017, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $630 million in fines to U.S. and U.K. regulators over a staggering $10 billion in suspicious Russian transactions, i.e. money laundering.
A year before that happened, senior officials at Deutsche Bank decided to reject Trump’s request for a $10 million loan expansion, according to the Times.
Per the report:
Mr. Trump’s loan request, which has not been previously reported, set off a fight that reached the top of the German bank, according to three people familiar with the request. In the end, Deutsche Bank did something unexpected. It said no.
Senior officials at the bank, including its future chief executive, believed that Mr. Trump’s divisive candidacy made such a loan too risky, the people said. Among their concerns was that if Mr. Trump won the election and then defaulted, Deutsche Bank would have to choose between not collecting on the debt or seizing the assets of the president of the United States.
In a separate report, the Journal noted that later in 2016, Deutsche Bank, “seeking to slash its exposure to Russia,” sought to quickly shed an outstanding $600 million loan to the Russian state-owned bank VTB Group.
“Deutsche Bank’s effort to shed the VTB loan—which hasn’t been previously reported—came as the German bank worried about its financial contacts with Russia, which U.S. intelligence officials accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election while the campaign was still under way,” the report said.
Two congressional committees now under Democratic control—the House Intelligence Committee and the House Financial Services Committee—already have said they will investigate the Trump Organization’s financial dealings and its relationship with Deutsche Bank. Rep. Adam Schiff chairs the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters chairs the Financial Services Committee.
“The failed loan request is an untold chapter in Mr. Trump’s long and tortured relationship with the banking industry. It shows that he was actively engaged in running his business in the midst of the presidential campaign, and it is likely to attract scrutiny from Democrats on two House committees that are investigating his two-decade relationship with Deutsche Bank,” the Times reported.
Meanwhile, Trump already is spending heavily on his 2020 reelection campaign, for which he started fundraising earlier than any other president in history, according to Politico. In the last three months of 2018, Trump’s campaign spent $23 million, while bringing in only $6.9 million, according to Politico, citing Federal Election Commission filings.
The campaign, two fundraising committees, and the Republican National Committee raised a total of $21 million in the same period. Heading into 2019, Trump’s campaign has $19 million in the bank, Politico said.