President Donald Trump lashed out at The New York Times on Monday, disputing the paper’s reporting on his relationship with Deutsche Bank and launching into a broader criticism of the news media.
The president appeared to be responding to a Times report that anti-money laundering experts at the German bank noticed suspicious activity in accounts belonging to Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner in 2016 and 2017. According to the Times, bank executives blocked employees from reporting the suspect transactions to the U.S. Treasury and one former employee says she was fired for raising concerns about the bank’s scrutiny of certain clients.
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In a string of tweets Monday, the president pushed back on the paper’s characterization of his relationship with the German lender, which has given Trump’s and Kushner’s companies billions over the years, showing a willingness to work with Trump despite his rocky financial history in the 1980s and 90s.
“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 wrote, kicking off a flurry of posts. “WRONG! It is because I didn’t need money. Very old fashioned, but true. When you don’t need or want money, you don’t need or want banks. Banks have always been available to me, they want to make money.”
Trump also appeared to criticize reporting from a year ago that cast suspicion on his transition over the last decade or so to using cash for real estate purchases, a break with industry norms.
“Now the new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks,” he claimed in a subsequent tweet, before offering praise for Deutsche Bank’s service. “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…and DeutscheBank was very good and highly professional to deal with – and if for any reason I didn’t like them, I would have gone elsewhere….there was always plenty of money around and banks to choose from. They would be very happy to take my money.”
”Fake Media only says this to disparage,” Trump claimed, railing against the media’s reliance on unnamed sources even though members of his own administration routinely request not to be quoted by name.
David Enrich, who authored the Times story, pushed back on Trump’s denial.
“This is not true. I have spent a long time looking into this, and @DeutscheBank was the only bank willing to lend to @realDonaldTrump for 20 years because of his pattern of defaults and the bank’s hunger for growth in the US,” he wrote in a tweet.
A Times spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
Trump’s history with Deutsche Bank has become a renewed focus as Democrats in Congress battle the White House for the release of his financial records and tax returns. Last month, Trump and his family sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block them from turning over those records in response to congressional subpoenas.
On Monday, Trump turned his ire on news outlets who have churned out damaging stories about the president, proclaiming that “the Mainstream Media has never been as corrupt and deranged as it is today.” He reiterated his claim that the press and congressional Democrats were ignoring the “REAL Russia Hoax,” which he claimed were “all of the crimes committed by Crooked Hillary and the phony Russia Investigation.”