The inside story of the president and Deutsche Bank, his lender of last resort
One Day in early 2017, Mike Offit went to the Yale Club in Manhattan for a lunch hosted by a group called Business Executives for National Security. Offit, who has a craggy face and shoulder-length hair, had spent much of his career in banking, but that had ended nearly two decades earlier. Since then, he had puttered around the outskirts of finance, dabbled in journalism and even published a novel about a pair of murders at a fictional German-owned Wall Street bank that bore a striking resemblance to the one that he worked for until 1998: Deutsche Bank.
These days, Offit had time on his hands, which is how he found himself at the Yale Club that afternoon. Slanting winter sunlight illuminated the white-columned walls of the club’s dining room. Offit was chatting with an American military officer about weaponry when his iPhone buzzed. He saw an email from the White House Executive Office of the President. How strange, Offit thought.
The message contained a PDF file: a scanned printout of an email he had sent Donald Trump several months earlier, in the waning days of the presidential campaign. Offit had known Trump for decades. At Deutsche Bank, he had lined up huge loans to finance Trump’s construction and renovation of landmark Manhattan skyscrapers, at a time when the default-prone real estate developer and casino magnate was no longer able to get loans from most mainstream financial institutions. The two men stayed in touch afterward. Offit’s 2014 book, “Nothing Personal,” even featured a blurb from Trump: “Michael Offit offers a colorful insight into how the big money is made — and/or taken — on Wall Street.”