Michael Kowalczyk / Flickr trump tower window...
Michael Kowalczyk / Flickr

CNN is reporting that the Trump Organization has turned over documents to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The bulk of the information is focused on the period between June 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy, and his January 2017 inauguration. …

The Trump Organization produced records that include information related to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, the billionaire Agalarov family of Russia of the US-based Russian American Chamber of Commerce Sergei Millian, a paid speech Donald Trump Jr. gave in October 2016 to a Russia-friendly policy think tank in Paris, Trump’s foreign policy address in April 2016 at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel and communications regarding WikiLeaks, two of the sources said.

Trump had previously stated that investigating anything to do with his finances would be crossing a red line for Mueller. But it’s clear that the warning didn’t stop Mueller from demanding, and receiving, documents from the 100 percent Donald Trump-owned real estate operation. 

So far, the documents don’t seem to include requests from before Trump announced that he was a candidate, but that could clearly come next—the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates include transactions that go back several more years. But these documents do seem to indicate that investigators are following the path Steve Bannon predicted.

Lots of attention has been lavished on Bannon’s charge, leveled in a new book by the journalist Michael Wolff, that Trump’s son, Donald Jr., engaged in “treasonous” behavior by meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. …

But one of the more substantive issues Bannon has surfaced shouldn’t get lost in the cacophony. Bannon, in his interviews with Wolff, has invited us to consider the families of Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner as possible targets of a significant federal money-laundering investigation.

It’s an idea that other sources have brought up before.

When the investigation into the Trump campaign brings up charges of money laundering and shady property deals, it may seem like a sideline. But it shouldn’t. No one expects Donald Trump to secretly have a shrine to Lenin in the basement of Trump Tower. Michael Flynn didn’t offer to kidnap a cleric because the man offended his religious views. Paul Manafort wasn’t sending Putin plans to “greatly benefit his government” because he really, really wants to see democracy crushed—though given Manafort’s track record, he might.

That’s from … here, because from the beginning it’s been clear that Donald Trump’s involvement with Russia wasn’t an issue of ideology, but one of plain old cash. Trump has been absolutely dependent on Russian oligarchs for more than a decade—a fact that the Financial Times worked out in a fantastic set of articles over a year ago.

But even if it took Steve Bannon chiming in to finally bring increased press attention to the money-laundering angle, it’s been obvious for some time that Robert Mueller needed no such goading. 

“This is all about money laundering,” Wolff quotes Bannon saying. “Their path to [expletive] Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner.” For good measure he added, “It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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