"For all of you out there who were denied a mortgage, despite good credit score and liquidity, just because the big banks were running scared after the financial crisis of 2008, we have a story for you," John Avlon said.
"Because one very big bank stuck by one very controversial client for decades, through thick and thin, mostly thin, extending him $2.5 billion in loans, when other banks wouldn't give him the time of day. Talking, of course, about Donald Trump. The financial institution in question? Deutsche Bank. It is a head-smacking tale, all connected to the title Trump used to give himself. 'I'm the king of debt.'
"In the '90s, fresh off losses in New York City, it felt no other banks would deal with him, but Deutsche Bank did. What followed was hundreds of millions in loans, officers who loved trips in Trump's private jets and trips to Mar-a-Lago. Then there was an accusation of a forged signature on a bank document, that Trump wasn't worth what he said he was. Then came this stunning bit of brass. After the financial crisis, Trump actually sued the bank to get out of a massive $500 million loan. Because former Fed chief Alan Greenspan called the meltdown a tsunami, making it, in Trump's mind, an act of God.
"Deutsche Bank responded by channelling 'Anchorman'" 'I'm not even angry, I'm impressed.' Parts of the bank kept doing business with him. Trump moved on to the private banker with Jared Kushner. Then Trump used that loan from the bank to pay back the money he already loaned to the bank. Some bigwigs began to worry. By the time Trump was elected, word went around, the bank wasn't to use the word "Trump" on the trading floor. They were in hot water for selling public access and -- wait for it-- Russian money laundering, which would ultimately cost them $10 billion in fines and settlements.
"We've learned, according to the New York Times, the transactions involving Trump and Kushner companies set off the bank's own internal alarms against money laundering. A veteran employee who investigated these concerns said reports were ignored. Numerous inaccuracies but they don't say which ones. Investigators say no one was fired over concerns. It wasn't improper, and a spokesperson issued denials of the report. Still, there are a lot of questions here.
And we may start getting some answers. On Wednesday, there is a hearing over Team Trump's efforts to block the banks from complying with House subpoenas. So why is Trump trying so hard to get all of this hidden? Perhaps a clue lies in the tweet tornado after the Times report. 'The failing New York Times writes phony stories about how I didn't use many banks because they didn't want to do business with me. Wrong, it's because I didn't need the money.'
"And if you believe that, I have a low-interest loan to sell you. And that's your reality check."