Waters defends planned probe of Trump finances after GOP backlash

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOn The Money: Lawmakers closing in on border deal | Dems build case for Trump tax returns | Trump, Xi won't meet before trade deadline | Waters in talks with Mnuchin for testimony Waters in talks with Mnuchin for testimony on lifting of sanctions on Russian firms Fox's Kilmeade: Why doesn't Trump investigate personal finances of Schiff and Waters? MORE (D-Calif.) defended plans from House Democrats to investigate President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery 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.

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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: Consumer bureau proposes scrapping borrower safeguards from payday loan rule | Negotiators running out of time to avert shutdown | Trump nominates World Bank critic as its next chief On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Local banks can lead bipartisan efforts on financial regulation 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 CrapoOn The Money: Lawmakers race to pass border deal | Trump rips 'stingy' Democrats, but says shutdown would be 'terrible' | Battle over contractor back pay | Banking panel kicks off data security talks Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers press officials on 2020 election security | T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend merger before Congress | Officials charge alleged Iranian spy | Senate panel kicks off talks on data security bill Senate Banking panel kicks off talks on data security bill 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.