In another tangled ethics situation for Donald Trump, the president’s Trump Organization is reportedly asking to postpone its loan payments to Deutsche Bank — which is being investigated by the Department of Justice to determine if it complied with anti-money laundering regulations.
The situation highlights the unique power of Trump as president to maneuver a deal for his business hurt by the COVID-19 crisis, particularly with a bank under investigation by his own administration.
Trump did not divest from his businesses when he moved into the White House as other presidents have done to avoid conflicts of interest. The current scenario is the “absolute nightmare that someone (ahem) warned about” when Trump took office, tweeted Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under both Barack Obama and Trump.
The Trump Organization has been hit hard amid the coronavirus pandemic as consumers slash their stays in hotels and trips to golf resorts. The company has laid off or furloughed some 1,500 employees in several hotels, The Washington Post reported. As of Friday, 17 of the Trump Organization’s hotels and clubs were closed, according to the Post. The shuttered operations amounted to some $650,000 a day in lost revenue, the newspaper reported.
Loans from Deutsche Bank, the Trump Organization’s biggest creditor, have reportedly been used for Trump’s Chicago Tower, the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort — which is now shuttered — and his Washington, D.C., hotel, which has closed its bar and restaurant, The New York Times reported. The loans are backed by a personal guarantee from Trump...