Waters defends planned probe of Trump finances after GOP backlash

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOn The Money: Mnuchin, Powell differ over how soon economy will recover | Millions fear eviction without more aid from Congress | IRS chief pledges to work on tax code's role in racial wealth disparities Millions fear eviction without more aid from Congress House approves statehood for DC in 232-180 vote MORE (D-Calif.) defended plans from House Democrats to investigate President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address 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 McHenryThe Hill's Morning Report - Capitol Hill weighs action on racial justice as protests carry on Top bank regulator announces abrupt resignation Trump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans 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 CrapoGOP skeptical of polling on Trump GOP: Trump needs a new plan On The Money: US tops 100,000 coronavirus deaths with no end in sight | How lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response | Tenants fear mass evictions MORE (R-Idaho), the current chairman, or Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight 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 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.