Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding his immediate recusal from any Department of Justice investigation into Deutsche Bank’s Russian mirror trading scheme and any investigation into any loans Deutsche Bank provided to President Trump or his immediate family members. Ranking Member Waters highlighted her grave concerns about Attorney General Sessions’ ability to take unbiased actions regarding these matters:
“Your track record thus far as Attorney General shows a failure to maintain the independence of the Justice Department from the President and the Executive Branch,” said Ranking Member Maxine Waters. “President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he has no qualms about pressuring the Department to bend to his will and you have demonstrated a willingness to accede to the President’s wishes.”
Last Friday, Ranking Member Waters and four Committee Ranking Members introduced a Resolution of Inquiry (ROI) directing the Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to provide Congress with documents from Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) regarding the financial and business dealings of President Trump, his family members, and his associates. In addition, the Ranking Members have written four letters— one to Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, one to Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan, one to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and another to Deutsche Bank’s external counsel —requesting their cooperation in efforts to learn the full scope of Russian influence on this Administration. To date, none of the recipients have assisted in these requests.
The full text of the letter is below:
July 18, 2017
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
U.S. Department of Justice
Attorney General Sessions:
Given the demonstrated collusion between President Trump’s family and presidential campaign and the Russian government to undermine our democracy, I write to demand your immediate recusal from any investigation conducted by the Department of Justice (“the Department”) into Deutsche Bank’s (“the Bank”) Russian mirror trading scheme and any probe into any loans the Bank provided to the President or his immediate family members. The most recent questions surrounding the integrity of the May 2017 settlement of United States v. Prevezon Holdings Ltd., et al. involving the same Russian attorney who had previously met with Donald Trump Jr. in June of 2016 to provide him with damaging information on Hillary Clinton is yet another affirmation of the need for your recusal from the above matters.
As you know, Deutsche Bank is one of President Trump’s top creditors, and has lent his companies more than $360 million. Despite his repeated bankruptcies, his lawsuit against the Bank, and his defaults on prior loans extended by the Bank, Deutsche Bank has continued to deal with President Trump for reasons unknown. Serious concerns have been raised that the Bank’s loans to the President may have been guaranteed by a third party, such as Russia. The Bank has also lent a sizable amount to the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner’s real estate company reportedly received an undisclosed loan of more than $280 million from the Bank one month prior to the 2016 presidential election. The timing of this loan to Kushner also raises questions about whether lenient treatment of the Bank under a Trump Administration may have been a factor in the deal.
Press reports indicate that since 2015 the Department has been investigating Deutsche Bank’s Russian mirror trading scheme, in which a corrupt group of traders at the Bank transferred more than $10 billion out of Russia to unknown entities. While other agencies in the U.S. and the U.K. have brought enforcement actions against the Bank related to this matter, the Department’s apparent investigation has yet to be resolved. I remain troubled by the seeming delay on the part of the Department to reach a determination on this matter. The Department’s failure to take action against the Bank thus far for its Russian mirror trading scheme stands in sharp contrast to the actions brought against the Bank by the Department under the previous Administration, involving the sale of toxic mortgage securities , interest rate benchmark manipulation , and tax violations.
Your track record thus far as Attorney General shows a failure to maintain the independence of the Justice Department from the President and the Executive Branch. President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he has no qualms about pressuring the Department to bend to his will and you have demonstrated a willingness to accede to the President’s wishes. Former FBI Director Comey testified that you and other officials agreed to the President’s request that you leave the Oval Office so that the President could privately issue a request to end the inquiry into his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. This was completely inappropriate. Further, your failure to maintain independence was again demonstrated when you endorsed the President’s firing of Director Comey, despite the President’s admission that he fired him over his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and despite the fact that you had recused yourself from such matters. Your failure to shield Director Comey from political pressure is a clear indication that you are unwilling to stand up to the President on matters in which he has a vested interest.
Further, given your recusal from all investigations pertaining to Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, continuing revelations of your meetings with the Russian Ambassador, outstanding questions about who benefitted from Deutsche Bank’s Russian mirror-trading scheme, as well as reports suggesting that Russia may have played a role in financing the President’s Deutsche Bank loans, you must further recuse yourself in the manner I have prescribed.
House Committee on Financial Services