Dems seek to compel bank to hand over documents tied to Russia probe

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Democrats on the House Oversight Committee want to issue a subpoena to a Chicago bank that has refused to turn over documents related to its connection to the special counsel probe of the Trump campaign.

The Federal Savings Bank has been under a spotlight since it was revealed that it provided $16 million in mortgages to onetime Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort between July 2016 and January 2017.

Manafort faces more than two dozen criminal charges as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He has denied wrongdoing.

Around the time that the $364 million-asset bank made the loans to Manafort, bank CEO Stephen Calk was reportedly seeking to be named Army secretary. A letter that the Department of Defense recently sent to House Democrats revealed that Calk had two contacts with Army officials in November 2016.

Mueller’s office has reportedly been investigating whether Calk made the loans to Manafort in exchange for a job in the Trump administration. Calk did not ultimately receive such a job.

On Tuesday, Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts asked the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, to compel The Federal Savings Bank to hand over various documents.

The documents that are being sought include communications between Calk and Manafort, communications between Calk and the Trump campaign, communications between Calk and the Trump transition team, and communications about the bank’s loans to Manafort.

Last month, Cummings and Lynch asked The Federal Savings Bank to turn over the documents voluntarily, but the bank declined to do so.

In an April 26 response to the Democratic congressmen, the bank’s compliance manager denied that Manafort received loans from the bank in exchange for promises of a job in the Trump administration.

“This news media speculation is false,” Ryan Murphy, compliance manager at The Federal Savings Bank, wrote.

Murphy depicted The Federal Savings Bank as a victim of what he called Manafort’s fraudulent conduct, pointing to a court filing in which prosecutors allege that the veteran political operative provided false information to the bank.

“The Federal Savings Bank has fully cooperated and continues to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation,” Murphy wrote in his April 26 response to the two House Democrats.

“The indictment charges that Mr. Manafort committed bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud against The Federal Savings Bank in order to obtain the loans referenced in your letter.”

A spokeswoman for Gowdy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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