👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ House Democrats subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for Trump’s personal and financial records. Democrats also subpoenaed JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup for documents related to possible Russian money laundering. Maxine Waters said Trump’s “potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern” and that the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees will “follow the facts wherever they may lead us.” Deutsche Bank reportedly requested a so-called “friendly subpoena” from the committees before it would comply with their request. The Trump Organization, meanwhile, said it was looking at options to block Deutsche Bank from complying with the subpoena. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / Reuters / Washington Post)
📌 Day 320: Robert Mueller issued a subpoena for the banking records of people affiliated with Trump. The move forced Deutsche Bank – Trump’s biggest lender – to turn over documents related to certain credit transactions and the $300 million Trump owes the lender. Legal experts said it showed Mueller was “following the money” in search of links between the campaign and the Kremlin since Deutsche Bank may have sold some of Trump’s mortgage or loans to Russian-owned banks, which could potentially give Russia leverage over Trump. Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, denied that a subpoena had been issued. Since 1998, Deutsche has helped loan at least $2.5 billion to companies affiliated with Trump, which he used to build or purchase highest-profile projects in Washington, New York, Chicago and Florida. (The Guardian / Bloomberg / Reuters / Wall Street Journal)
📌 Day 356: The Trump administration waived fines for Deutsche Bank and four other multinational banks convicted of manipulating global interest rates. Trump owes Deutsche at least $130 million in loans that were originally worth $300 million. The German bank was alsofined$425 million by New York State for laundering $10 billion out of Russia. (International Business Times / USA Today)
📌 Day 746: Deutsche Bank refused to give Trump a loan during his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump was funding his campaign and expanding his business group’s collection of properties at the same time. The Trump Organization specifically wanted a loan against a Miami property to fund work on the Turnberry golf course in Scotland. A 2018 financial disclosure, Trump owed at least $130 million to Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, a unit of the German bank. The decision came down to senior bank officials worrying about what would happen if Trump won the election and then defaulted on the loan. Deutsche Bank would then have to choose between not collecting on the debt or seizing the assets of the president of the United States. (New York Times / CNBC)
📌 Day 789: Deutsche Bank loaned more than $2 billion to Trump over nearly two decades during his time as a real estate developer at a time when other banks wouldn’t lend to him. The bank repeatedly loaned money to Trump despite multiple business-related “red flags,” including instances where Trump exaggerated his wealth by an extra $2 billion in order to secure additional loans from the bank. In 2010, Trump returned to Deutsche Bank for $100 million loan, even though it had concluded at the time that Trump had overvalued some of his real estate assets by up to 70%. (New York Times / New York Times / CNBC)
2/ White House officials who cooperated with Robert Mueller at the direction of Trump’s legal team are worried the redacted report will expose them as the source of damaging information about Trump. In particular, current and former staffers are concerned how Trump will react to information shared with Mueller, leading to “breakdown-level anxiety” among those who cooperated with the investigation. Officials and their lawyers have asked the Justice Department whether the names of those who cooperated with Mueller’s team will be redacted, or if the public report will make it obvious who shared certain details. (NBC News)
Trump renewed his call for the Justice Department to “INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!” days before the public release of Mueller’s report. Trump claimed without evidence that “Crooked Hillary, the DNC, [and] Dirty Cops” are the ones guilty of collusion and obstruction of justice. (Politico)
The Department of Justice declined to unseal records related to Paul Manafort’s case due to “ongoing investigations.” The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia argued in a court filing that, “although the Special Counsel has concluded his work, he has also referred a number of matters to other offices.” (Washington Post / Axios)
3/ The House Judiciary Committee requested information about Trump’s reported offer to pardon the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner if he was sent to jail for blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S. Kevin McAleenan has since been named the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security following the forced resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen. The deadline to turn over a list of employees who attended Trump’s meeting with Border Patrol agents, and documents and communications related to Nielsen’s meeting with Trump “on or about March 21, 2019 to discuss reinstating the zero-tolerance policy and closing the US-Mexico border at El Paso, Texas” is April 30. (CNN)
- 📌 Day 813: Trump promised to pardon the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner if he were sent to jail for blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S. in defiance of U.S. law. Two days later, Trump promoted Kevin McAleenan to acting secretary of homeland security after pressuring Nielsen to submit her resignation. Nielsen previously refused to close the border, telling Trump it was illegal. A few days prior to the encounter with McAleenan, Trump backtracked from his thread to close the border, saying he was issuing a “one-year warning” for Mexico to halt illegal immigration and drug trafficking. (New York Times / CNN)
4/ Trump ordered thousands of additional troops to the southwest border. According to a document drafted by Defense Department officials, between 9,000 to 10,000 more forces would be deployed to the border over the next few months. A Pentagon spokesperson, however, put the number at about 3,000 additional forces. There are roughly 2,800 active duty forces currently supporting the border mission. The orders were drafted days after Nielsen’s forced resignation. (Newsweek)
5/ The Trump administration will resume its “Remain in Mexico” policy, forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed in the U.S. On Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s ruling, which blocked the policy. The DHS spokesperson said the agency would resume the practice in ports of entry in California and Texas, including those in Calexico, San Diego and El Paso. (CBS News / Los Angeles Times)
The White House rejected a House Judiciary request for documents detailing discussions with the Justice Department about the AT&T-Time Warner merger. In the late summer of 2017, Trump ordered Gary Cohn to pressure the Justice Department to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which owns CNN. The next day Trump declared the proposed merger “not good for the country.” White House counsel Pat Cipollone cited executive privilege for the White House denying the document request, claiming any talks were “protected communications.” (Politico)
Trump offered Paris unsolicited advice for putting out the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral, tweeting that “perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” France’s civil defense agency tweeted back: “The dumping of water by aircraft on this kind of building could, actually, cause the complete collapse of the structure.” A French fire chief described Trump’s advice as “risible.” (Los Angeles Times / The Guardian / CNBC)
Trump also offered unsolicited business advice to Boeing, tweeting that the airplane maker should “REBRAND” the 737 MAX “with a new name.” Trump added: “But again, what the hell do I know?” (USA Today / Daily Beast)
Trump called Bernie Sanders’s Fox News town hall “so weird” and noted that anchor Bret Baier, who has been critical of Trump in the past, was “so smiley and nice” to Sanders. (Vox / Washington Post / Politico)
Trump claimed he “has always liked” Jimmy Carter, despite previously calling him “the worst President in the history of the United States!” in 2013, 2014, and 2016. (Washington Post)
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