California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters said an investigation into President Donald Trump‘s personal financial dealings with Deutsche Bank is just one of several issues the House Financial Services Committee has on its plate.
Waters, who is in line to become chair of the committee next year when Democrats take control of the House, told Bloomberg News in an interview Wednesday that the committee was also focused on housing policies and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms that has been under attack by Republicans ever since.
Congressional Democrats have already been investigating ties between Trump and Germany’s Deutsche Bank, which has been ordered by regulators to shore up internal controls to prevent money laundering. Waters was one of a handful of lawmakers who requested information from the bank last year, including whether loans it made to Trump were guaranteed by the Russian government.
As the new majority on the committee, Waters could use subpoena power to put more force behind such requests. Asked whether she would use that power, Waters said: “That’s simply one piece of the business that we have to do. You know that we have requested information from the Treasury about everything from sanctions to Deutsche Bank, and we know that Deutsche Bank is identified as one of the biggest money laundering banks in the world, perhaps, and that they’re the only ones who were amenable to providing loans to this president. So we want to know some things about that.”
She added, “We have the power to deal with subpoenas, but I want you to know we’re not just focused on that alone.”
She said supporting the CFPB is another task at hand, calling it one of “the most important centerpieces” of the 2010 reforms. Republicans have been trying to dismantle the agency from the start. This summer, Mick Mulvaney, a Trump economic advisor and its acting director, fired the CFPB’s 25-member advisory board, some of whom had been critical of his leadership.
“I’ve got to do everything that I can possibly do to undo some of the harm that Mr. Mulvaney has done,” Waters told Bloomberg. “He is going to come to understand that he cannot just summarily dismiss the advisory committee. That’s not going to work.”
Waters said the committee would also work to insure consumers are protected from fraud and predatory lending.
As for Trump, Waters said he should also steer clear of trying to direct the Federal Reserve‘s policies on interest rates and monetary issues. Trump has been publicly critical of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, whom he nominated to the post. Powell has steadily raised interest rates, something Trump has said he is “not thrilled” with.
“The president should not interfere with the Federal Reserve,” Waters said in the interview. “The president doesn’t understand. He’s not a dictator, and he cannot interfere. As a matter of fact, he could really cause problems in the markets by just rolling out saying things that he should not say because he does not understand the complexity of how they make those decisions.”
“He should leave him alone and let them do their work and not continue to try and make them do what he would have them do.”
Watch the Bloomberg interview here.