Wells Fargo Chief Executive John Stumpf arguably faces the challenge of his career on Tuesday as he appears before the Senate Banking Committee to answer criticisms that he and other top bank executives should have detected and stopped millions of phony accounts from being opened.

The revelations of widespread fraud at Wells have already damaged the chances for Republican legislation aimed at reining in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and provided more ammunition for lawmakers that want to break up the big banks because they see them as too large to manage.

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