In his interview with the New York Times yesterday, Donald Trump lashed out at an alarmingly wide number of officials in the Justice Department and the FBI, most notably former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who’s overseeing the investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal.
Among other things, the president accused Mueller of overseeing an investigatory team rife with conflicts of interest and, as the Times’ report noted, warned that Mueller and his team shouldn’t examine Trump’s finances. The president didn’t specify what would prompt him to fire the special counsel, but when asked about an examination of his finances, Trump said, “I think that’s a violation.”Comments like those make it all the more significant to see reports like this one from Bloomberg Politics, which said the special counsel’s investigation is, in fact, examining “a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates.”
FBI investigators and others are looking at 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, the person said.
Agents are also interested in dealings with the Bank of Cyprus, where Wilbur Ross served as vice chairman before he became commerce secretary. They are also examining the efforts of Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and White House aide, to secure financing for some of his family’s real estate properties.
This reporting has not been independently confirmed by NBC News.
As Rachel noted on last night’s show, there was also a New York Times report on Deutsche Bank, the president’s biggest lender, and one of the few financial institutions that stuck with Trump even when other major banks weren’t interested in doing business with him.
The Times reported, “Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele.” The German bank, the article added, has already been “in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts,” and expects it will “eventually have to provide information” to Mueller and the special counsel’s investigators.
Or put another way, Trump seemed to implicitly threaten Mueller yesterday, saying the president’s finances are out of bounds. And yet, the special counsel appears to be focusing on this issue anyway.
In case this isn’t already painfully obvious, if Trump fires Mueller, after already having fired former FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia scandal, all hell will break loose.