CNN is reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller is examining whether Russian oligarchs illegally contributed money to Donald Trump’s campaign and inauguration, using either direct or indirect means. The inquiry has resulted in several Russians being stopped for questioning as they traveled to the U.S.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has taken the unusual step of questioning Russian oligarchs who traveled into the US, stopping at least one and searching his electronic devices when his private jet landed at a New York area airport, according to multiple sources familiar with the inquiry.
A second Russian oligarch was stopped during a recent trip to the US, although it is not clear if he was searched, according to a person briefed on the matter.
Mueller’s team has also made an informal voluntary document and interview request to a third Russian oligarch who has not traveled to the US recently.
Mueller’s focus on collusion between the Trump camp and Russian operatives appears to have intensified in recent weeks.
It’s worth remembering here that former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort once offered private briefings on the campaign to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, to whom Manafort owed millions of dollars. Additionally, when Mueller’s team approached Manafort’s former partner Rick Gates as a cooperating witness in the probe, the focus of the information they sought was reportedly related to collusion/conspiracy, not obstruction of justice.