Washington—Investigations into President Trump’s relationship with Russia must include the president’s financial dealings with the country, according to a letter sent today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as well as the House and Senate Committees on Intelligence and the Judiciary and the House Oversight Committee.
In light of this week’s revelation that Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met with a lawyer presented as a “Russian government attorney” to discuss information on Hillary Clinton described to Trump Jr. as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” it is more important than ever to determine any ways in which President Trump might be subject to influence by Russia, including through financial connections and transactions.
“Investigating the existence and extent of current or past ties between President Trump and Russia or between other members of his campaign or administration and Russia may help to shed important light on why the president and his associates have failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials and why the President may have sought to obstruct justice by impeding the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” the letter reads.
In 2008, Trump Jr. said that Russians “make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” and that “[w]e see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Because President Trump is the first president in more than 40 years to refuse to release his tax returns, we do not know the extent of payments coming from Russia, but his lawyers have acknowledged at least some of those payments would be found in his tax returns.
“Only an exhaustive investigation into all possible ties, including business and financial ties, between the Trump campaign and administration and Russia will demonstrate whether President Trump and his closest associates conspired with a foreign power to impact the election or whether the administration is subject to foreign influence,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “Special Counsel Mueller and the congressional committees should ensure that their investigations will consider these financial ties.”