President Trump went on the attack Monday against The New York Times in response to a report saying many banks did not want to do business with him, calling the story “fake news” and predicting the paper’s eventual demise.
The article itself focused on allegations that transactions made by entities controlled by Trump and Jared Kushner through Deutsche Bank raised flags, but that the bank did not fully investigate them. It also said that other banks would not deal with Trump. The president zeroed in on that section in his Twitter rebuke.
“The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years), and others of the Fake News Media, keep writing phony stories about how I didn’t use many banks because they didn’t want to do business with me,” Trump said in the first of a series of tweets. “WRONG! It is because I didn’t need money.”
He also wrote, “Now the new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks. But where did he get all of that cash? Could it be Russia? No, I built a great business and don’t need banks, but if I did they would be there.”
The Times article, which was published on Sunday, cited former Deutsche Bank employees who recalled that several transactions made by Trump-controlled entities triggered alerts about possible suspicious activity. The story also noted that real estate developers often engaged in cash transactions that resulted in such alerts, despite banks later finding no improper activity.
The Times reported that Deutsche Bank was the only institution that dealt with Trump at the time. The president said on Twitter that he didn’t need other banks and that Deutsche Bank “was very good and highly professional to deal with – and if for any reason I didn’t like them, I would have gone elsewhere.”
The former employees told the Times that Deutsche Bank would ignore reports of suspicious activity and were lax in their anti-money laundering enforcement. A bank spokesperson pushed back, telling the Times, “At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious.” One of the former employees claimed she was fired after speaking out about the bank’s operations. The spokesperson said this was “categorically false.”
A representative from the Trump Organization told the Times that they had “no knowledge of any ‘flagged’ transactions with Deutsche Bank.”
Trump is currently involved in a lawsuit originally filed against Deutsche Bank and Capitol One, in an attempt to block them from turning over documents sought by Democrat-led House committees that issued subpoenas to the financial institutions. Those committees are now battling with the president and his family in court over whether the subpoenas are enforceable.