Manhattan prosecutors’ investigation into President Donald Trump has intensified in recent weeks with District Attorney Cyrus Vance‘s office interviewing employees of Trump’s bank and insurance broker, according to a New York Times report.
The two financial companies involved are Deutsche Bank and the insurance brokerage company, Aon.
Some of the witnesses have appeared before grand juries, as prosecutors pursue their investigation and verify documents. The exact nature of the grand juries remains secret.
The criminal investigation has spanned over two years and has examined a variety of finance-related issues, beginning with looking into possible campaign finance violations from the payment of hush money to women Trump allegedly had affairs with. The president’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty on federal charges for making the payments. Trump himself has remained in the clear.
However, the investigation has since expanded and Vance has worked to obtain years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax records. A court document from earlier this year showed the inquiry relates to possible insurance, tax and bank-related fraud.
Trump has called the probe a “witch hunt” and the Trump Organization’s lawyer, Alan Gerten similarly condemned it, labeling Vance’s work as a “fishing expedition.”
The prosecutors have cited public reports of Trump manipulating his assets as evidence that tax documents and a full investigation are merited.
Trump may have inflated the value of his properties to lenders to receive better rates, and likewise manipulated property values for insurance purposes. In testifying before Congress in February 2019, Cohen similarly accused Trump of altering his net worth to secure better rates.
Vance’s prosecutors have recently questioned two Deutsche Bank employees about their processes for determining who gets a loan and at what rate. The people interviewed were not bankers, but rather experts in the bank’s underwriting procedures.
Both Aon and Deutsche Bank have said they are cooperating with the investigation and will provide documents as needed.
Despite musings of granting a self-pardon, Trump would still be liable to state charges after he departs from office in January.