Waters defends planned probe of Trump finances after GOP backlash

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersFive challenges facing new consumer bureau chief Democrats must stand up for Israel The Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda MORE (D-Calif.) defended plans from House Democrats to investigate President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE’s personal finances as Republicans warn of steep consequences if they move forward.

Waters is in line to chair the House Financial Services Committee in 2019, giving her oversight of banks and subpoena power to conduct investigations relevant to the panel’s mandate.

ADVERTISEMENT
She told The Hill in a phone interview Thursday night that a planned probe of the president’s relationship with Deutsche Bank should be considered “ordinary” oversight work for the panel.

“Deutsche Bank is key to understanding the relationship between the president and members of the president’s family and money laundering and all of that,” Waters said. “We hope that we can move forward in a responsible way.”

Waters has pledged to ramp up Democratic efforts to probe Trump and his family's relationship with Deutsche Bank, which has been penalized by the Justice Department for laundering money from Russia.

Financial Services panel Democrats spent the past two years requesting documents from the Treasury Department and Deutsche Bank that could reveal Trump’s potential ties to Russian nationals.

Treasury and Deutsche Bank have refused to comply with the Democratic requests, but could be forced to hand over Trump’s personal financial records if Waters subpoenas for the documents.

Trump and fellow Republicans, have blasted Waters for eyeing the president’s finances.

Trump said Wednesday that he would not work with Democrats on bipartisan goals like infrastructure funding if they subpoenaed his financial records — including his tax returns — and would ask the GOP-held Senate to investigate the opposition party.

Rep. Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryOn The Money: Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming | Trump names Mulvaney acting chief of staff | China agrees to 3-month freeze of auto tariffs | Dem to seek Deutsche Bank records of Trump's personal finances Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming The Memo: Allies worry as Trump’s woes mount MORE (R-N.C.), who’s poised to lead Republicans on the Financial Services panel, also warned Waters on Thursday that he’d fight Democratic efforts to use the committee “as the launch pad for endless, partisan investigations.”

Waters countered that the planned probes should be seen as basic committee oversight.

“We don’t want that determined as investigation so that we create the kind of retaliation the president is talking about,” Waters said. “We think it is improper for anybody to be talking about retaliation.”

While Waters will face fierce opposition from Republicans in investigating Trump, she said she’s hopeful for bipartisan collaboration on housing finance reform and a national flood insurance revamp.

Waters will need to cut deals with key Republicans, like McHenry, and her eventual counterpart on the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoSenators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying Banking panel showcases 2020 Dems On The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report MORE (R-Idaho), the current chairman, or Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (Pa.), who would likely take the Banking gavel if Crapo seeks the Senate Finance Committee chairmanship.

Waters said she has a “very good relationship with Congressman McHenry,” citing their work on a package of three-dozen bipartisan business investment bills.

“I know we won’t agree on everything and I don’t know all that he’s going to propose, but I know one thing: we start out in a good relationship and ability to communicate,” Waters said.

Waters added that it’s unclear how the House and Senate will collaborate on housing finance reform, as it’s a clear bipartisan and bicameral priority.

“We don’t know how we work with the Senate quite yet, but it’s on their minds and it’s on our minds,” Waters said.