Mike Maguire / Flickr trump russia poster...
Mike Maguire / Flickr

“Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING! “ declared Donald Trump rather passionately back in January. But Uday and Usay said otherwise, and today it was revealed that the U.S. Treasury “will publish a list of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ‘close associates’—from oligarchs to leading officials.”’ This list could ultimately lead to Donald Trump and help Robert Mueller. Newsweek:

… last May, golf writer James Dodson said that during a 2014 interview, Trump’s son Eric boasted that his father’s company had access to Russian money. “We don’t rely on American banks,” Dodson said Trump told him. “We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (Eric Trump later denied he made this claim.) Likewise, in 2008, Donald Trump Jr. told a real estate conference that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” and later added, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

And of course, Deutsche Bank, where Jared Kushner was allegedly channeling suspect funds via his family’s transactions with the bank is involved. Deutsche Bank was subpoenaed last month to supply those records. 

“Basically, DB was putting money from [Russian] oligarchs into one pocket and lending the Trump Organization hundreds of millions from the other,” says Tim Brown, a London-based financial investigator who has done Russia-related work for Kroll Associates and other asset-tracing companies. “So far, there’s no proven connection between those pockets…In large banks like DB, it’s quite plausible that the guys at those two departments have never even met. But [the FBI and Treasury] will also be looking at the oligarchs’ private investments. Any of that money finds its way into Trump businesses and bam, you got a smoking gun…on money laundering.”

And of course another dot that connects is Fusion GPS.

Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS, the business intelligence company which commissioned the now-infamous Trump dossier from ex-MI6 officer Chris Steele, has also suggested that Trump could be connected to dirty Russian money. In his November testimony to the House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees, Simpson said his private investigations into Trump’s finances had revealed “patterns of activity that we thought might be suggestive of money laundering”—including “fast turnover deals and deals where there seemed to have been efforts to disguise the identity of the buyer.” He also noted that in the late 2000s, Trump was in urgent need of capital because many mainstream banks were wary of his multiple corporate bankruptcies. Simpson did not back up his allegations with concrete evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump Organization—though former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has already been indicted by the FBI for laundering Ukrainian oligarch money through Cypriot banks, among others.

Here’s the bottom line.

“The allegation that concerns me most is…the issue of money laundering, and not money laundering alone by Mr. Manafort but whether the Russians also laundered money through the Trump Organization,” Representative Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told The Atlantic in October. “I mention that because when most people think of kompromat [‘compromising material’ in Russian], they think of the salacious video. But if the Russians were laundering money… that would be a very powerful lever the Russians would have over the president of the United States.”

This report is due to be released in the next few days. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is meeting with Trump tomorrow. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall during that confab. 

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