New media reporting about the connection between Justin Kennedy — Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's son — and Donald Trump is raising questions this week about the retiring justice's recent voting record, and why the justice who once frequently sided with SCOTUS liberals, decided to step down knowing that his replacement would likely be a hardcore conservative selected by Trump. As the political news site Talking Points Memo stated, "Justice Kennedy's son Justin was the global head of real estate capital markets at Deutsche Bank and a key lifeline of capital to Trump."
Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, who as The Inquisitr reported, announced his retirement this week, had long been known as a "swing vote" on the court, voting consistently neither with the court's conservative nor liberal wing, and as a result he was frequently the deciding vote on closely contested cases that split the court along ideological lines.
But since Donald Trump has taken office, something appears to have changed with Kennedy. In the current SCOTUS term, according to an analysis by Mother Jones magazine, Kennedy has sided with the Trump administration position — voting with the four court's conservative, Republican-appointed justices — on 14 out of 14 close decisions, including this week's decision upholding Trump's anti-Muslim "travel ban," as Inquisitr reported.
After Kennedy made his retirement public on Wednesday, a report by The New York Times shed light on the longstanding links between Kennedy and Trump. Perhaps the most important of those links came through Justin Kennedy, who according to The Financial Times was "one of Mr. Trump's most trusted associates over a 12-year spell," from 1997 to 2009, when Kennedy left the German-based bank.
Following the bankruptcies of his Atlantic City casinos in the early 1990s, as well as the bankruptcy of New York City's historic Plaza Hotel which went belly-up under Trump's ownership in 1992, as Bloomberg News recounted, Trump found that almost every major bank refused to loan him money. But there was one exception — the Germany-based Deutsche Bank, which according to The Financial Times, "was desperate to grow in the U.S. (and) saw a niche in serving rich developers who had hit a few bumps along the way."
As it turned out, Deutsche Bank proved to be a vital financial lifeline for Trump.
"During (Justin) Kennedy's tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump's most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history," The New York Times reported in its story about Trump's relationship with Justice Anthony Kennedy on Thursday.
Though Trump ended up suing Deutsche Bank in 2008 to get out of a $640 million loan, according to The Financial Times, he appears to retain warm feelings toward Justin Kennedy. When Trump delivered an address to a joint session of Congress in February 2017, an address attended by the Supreme Court justices, Trump greeted Justice Kennedy by asking about his son, whom he referred to as a "special guy."
"Say hello to your boy," Trump said, according to Politico. "Special guy."
"Your kids have been very nice to him," the Supreme Court Justice replied.
"Well, they love him, and they love him in New York," Trump told the justice.
Justin Kennedy also knows Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., "through New York real estate circles," Politico reported.
Deutsche Bank has also been implicated in a $10 billion Russian money laundering scheme and agreed in 2017 to pay a New York State fine of $425 million. Trump's business empire has also been closely linked to Russian money, specifically "Russian criminal money," according to Associated Press reporter Seth Hettena, author of the recent book Trump/Russia: A Definitive History.
Trump's son Eric Trump has also reportedly acknowledged the family business connection to the Russian capital, telling an acquaintance in 2014, "we don't rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia," according to a report by WBUR Radio.
Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued a subpoena in December to Deutsche Bank for financial records relating to its dealings with Trump, according to Bloomberg News. Mueller is believed to be investigating the links between Russia, Deutsche Bank, and Trump as part of his probe into collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.