Donald Trump's financial dealings are receiving extra scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller, even as Trump threatens the investigator and warns him off probing his personal finances.
Special counsel Robert Mueller does not appear to be afraid of Donald Trump’s threats to cut off his investigation if he uncovers questionable or criminal misdeeds connected to Trump’s personal fortune.
Mueller is investigating “a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates,” according to Bloomberg. The FBI is exploring multiple connections to Russia, including “Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008.”
This is despite Trump’s repeated claims that he has no business interests in the hostile nation.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, previously tried to hide his interactions with a Russian banker from public scrutiny, and Kushner was one of the major Trump campaign figures who met directly with Russian operatives seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The new money probe comes as Trump threatened Mueller to stay away from his personal finances.
The threat came during an interview with the New York Times, in which he was allowed to ramble on about multiple topics, in a stream of consciousness session that seemed to play to Trump’s inflated self-worth and desire to be validated by elites.
Asked by the Times if the special counsel is investigating his family finances outside of a Russia connection would be a “red line” or “a breach” of his investigative mandate, Trump replied, “I would say yes.” He also said it would be “a violation.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) was alarmed by Trump’s latest threat to interfere in an ongoing investigation. On Twitter he wrote, “Threatening the Mueller investigation is more evidence of obstruction of justice — a criminal case unfolding in real time before our eyes.”
Trump has repeatedly used his position to threaten those who he disagrees with. He invented the idea that he had secretly recorded former FBI Director James Comey, after Comey revealed that Trump had tried to intimidate him into dropping the Russia investigation.
He has also issued threats against Republicans he views as disloyal, like Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who did not support him during the presidential primaries. Trump also publicly humiliated Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who opposed the party’s disastrous health care bill. Trump thuggishly intimated that if Heller did not vote with Trump, he could lose his Senate seat.
Additionally, funds have been cut off for New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno, because she criticized Trump’s endorsement of sexual assault on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.
Trump has used the Oval Office as an amplifier for his intimidation tactics, but it doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect on Mueller. By trying to wave Mueller away from this line of investigation, Trump may have instead signaled to Mueller that he’s getting close to something very damaging.