Speed Reads

Trump v Russia

Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating Trump associates for money laundering

When The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice, since corroborated by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, it also noted that "investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates," including "possible contacts with Russian operatives as well as any suspicious financial activity related to those individuals." The New York Times offers more details:

A former senior official said Mr. Mueller's investigation was looking at money laundering by Trump associates. The suspicion is that any cooperation with Russian officials would most likely have been in exchange for some kind of financial payoff, and that there would have been an effort to hide the payments, probably by routing them through offshore banking centers. [The New York Times]

Mueller is overseeing multiple investigations into not just Trump but people who are or used to be in his orbit; the investigation shifted from just Russian meddling in the 2016 election to obstruction of justice a few days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9; Mueller was appointed special counsel on May 17. Mueller is reportedly going to interview three intelligence officials as early as this week: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, and Rogers' former deputy director, Rick Ledgett.

Before he retired, The Wall Street Journal reports, Ledgett "wrote a memo documenting a phone call that Mr. Rogers had with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. During the call, the president questioned the veracity of the intelligence community's judgment that Russia had interfered with the election and tried to persuade Mr. Rogers to say there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russian officials." Rogers declined, but has testified he did not feel pressured by Trump to push back against collusion allegations. A spokesman for Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, criticized all the revelations from Mueller's close-to-the-vest investigation: "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable, and illegal."