Multiple news outlets, citing an anonymous source or sources, reported that the scandal-ridden special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank AG for records regarding President Donald Trump and his family. It now appears to be another poorly-sourced fake news story.
First, the various reports (listed in publication order):
Deutsche Bank has been served. US investigators are demanding that it provide information on dealings linked to the Trumps, sources familiar with the matter told Handelsblatt. The subpoena is part of a probe by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team to determine whether the president’s campaign was involved in Russian efforts to influence the US election.
Deutsche Bank apparently received the subpoena weeks ago, but a spokesman said the bank would not comment on individual cases “out of respect for investigating authorities” and for legal reasons. The bank regularly cooperates with agencies in every country, the spokesman added.
The German news outlet references “several sources” where later reports only cite a single source. Handelsblatt appears to be the originator of the subpoena story.
Mueller issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest lender several weeks ago, forcing the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the action has not been announced.
President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd disputed that account, saying he had been told by Deutsche Bank that no such subpoena had been issued.
Bloomberg was one of the few that actually recognized John Dowd as Trump’s lawyer. Others, as you’ll see, said that Judicial Watch’s Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow was the Trump lawyer who denied this subpoena claims. As of the time of this publication, we have not received a response from Mr. Sekulow confirming his position on the Trump defense team. Sekulow handles Constitutional Law litigation, specifically religious cases – not white-collar criminal defense so his position on the team is a head-scratcher.
Deutsche Bank, the German bank that serves as Trump’s biggest lender, was forced to submit documents about its client relationship with the president and some of his family members, who are also Deutsche clients, after Mueller issued the bank with a subpoena for information, according to media reports. The news was first reported by Handelsblatt, the German newspaper.
Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, denied the report, telling Reuters: “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”
Germany’s largest bank received a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller several weeks ago to provide information on certain money and credit transactions, the person said, without giving details, adding that key documents had been handed over in the meantime.
Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, said Deutsche Bank has not received any subpoena for financial records relating to the president as part of Mueller’s probe.
“We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false,” Sekulow told Reuters in a statement. “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”
Notice that Reuters attributes the denial to Sekulow where the Bloomberg report said the quote came from John Dowd. This has the feel of a rushed-out story with a lack of editorial oversight. It is public information that John Dowd is on the president’s defense team.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest bank, in a possible sign the investigation into Russian election interference may be expanding toward President Trump’s finances.
ABC News didn’t even bother to mention the statement denying the existence of the subpoena.
Is it Fake News?
On Sean Hannity’s radio show Tuesday, Sekulow did confirm that he issued a statement on the Deutsche Bank matter. He said that no subpoena had been received by the bank and that no records had been turned over to Mueller as a result.
Failing to find two separate sources is often what leads professional news organizations to run with untrue stories. In this case, the anti-Trump media jumped on a German news story with poor sourcing.
According to CBS’s Major Garrett, Sekulow’s denial has more than one source and the bank is named as one of them.
@JaySekulow lawyer for @realDonaldTrump “We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the President are false. No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”
Via @JaySekulow lawyer for @realDonaldTrump “We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the President are false. No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) December 5, 2017
Sekulow’s denial cites the bank “and other sources” for his information. With at least one named source, his information has more credibility than the anonymously-sourced tripe from the media.