'Following the money': The Dems have a special way to investigate Trump that Mueller doesn't have at his disposal
Nancy Pelosi speaking with attendees at a Trump Tax Town Hall hosted by Tax March at Events on Jackson in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

In her Monday show, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow walked through the past subpoenas sent to international financial giant Deutsche Bank. While those have been "walked back," in one way or another, Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Adam Schiff breezed past President Donald Trump's "red line" and demanded his financial documents from the bank.

Maddow explained that in a 2017 report that special counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed the bank. According to The New York Times, the president said Mueller would be crossing a "red line" if he began looking into Trump's finances.

“I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia,” Trump said.

But in 2017, that's supposedly what Mueller did. Bob Woodward's book Fear recalled a moment when it was reported the special counsel subpoenaed Deutsche Bank.

"In December a story ran in the German financial daily Handelsblatt saying that the Mueller investigation had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the largest in German, and the primary lender to Trump. The president called [his lawyer John] Dowd at 7 a.m. He was furious."

All of the stories that picked up the tale that Mueller had subpoenaed the bank for Trump's records "walked back" or "softened" their reporting after the fact, Maddow said. The reason seemed to come from fears that Trump was prepared to fire Mueller when he heard about it.

"In early December, President Trump, furious over news reports about a new round of subpoenas from the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, told advisers in no uncertain terms that Mr. Mueller's investigation had to be shut down," reported The Times in April 2018. "The president's anger was fueled by reports that the subpoenas were for obtaining information about his business dealings with Deutsche Bank..."

Maddow explained that it's still unclear what was happening with that subpoena and why that was something that prompted the president to fly into a rage.

"We never had complete clarity what happened back in December of 2017 and the president's reported freakout about that story in particular and why that story ultimately got at least partially here and there walked back a bit at least a little softened," Maddow explained. "It certainly earned vigorous denials."

Washington Post writer David Ignatius reported that Rosenstein and Mueller were narrowly sacked and may have protected themselves by pulling back the subpoenas.

"We're entering a new phase of the Trump-Russia investigation in which the president's efforts to contain the probe are failing. Information he tried to suppress about his business and political dealings is emerging -- with more to come," he wrote.

"The red line apparently held, then. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow told Reuters: 'No [Deutsche Bank] subpoena has been issued or received,'" Ignatius continued. "One government source speculates that Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, blocked any attempt to compel disclosure of the bank's Trump .... records to avoid getting himself or Mueller fired."

While Mueller could have been prevented from gaining access to those documents, Democrats are not. Part of taking over Congress in November meant that Waters and Schiff have subpoena power to gather the information Mueller might not have been able to.

"They are finally following that money trail, and it appears that they are the first ones doing it," Maddow said. "We know that the Senate Intelligence Committee didn't do it. The Senate Intelligence Committee said they hope Robert Mueller is doing it and House Democrats say they don't believe Robert Mueller is doing it. And we saw the fiasco that got walked back, and everybody freaked out from December of 2017."

Maddow said that if there is a money trail to follow in this story, the first stepping stone is coming from Democrats and they're going straight to Deutsche Bank.

"Nobody has done that yet. But now they are starting. The Democrats and the House are starting and apparently, this may be the red line for the president. Honestly, it feels more like a red flag to a bull that's already loose in a China shop," Maddow closed.

Watch Maddow's report below:

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