Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions

Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions, by Greg Farrell.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, … according to a person familiar with the probe [by the U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller]. …

The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

John Dowd, one of Trump’s lawyers, said on Thursday that he was unaware of the inquiry into Trump’s businesses by the two-months-old investigation and considered it beyond the scope of what Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be examining.

“Those transactions are in my view well beyond the mandate of the Special counsel; are unrelated to the election of 2016 or any alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and most importantly, are well beyond any Statute of Limitation imposed by the United States Code,” he wrote in an email. …

The president told the New York Times on Wednesday that any digging into matters beyond Russia would be out of bounds. Trump’s businesses have involved Russians for years, however, making the boundaries fuzzy.

The connections to the 2016 election are tenuous:

The 2013 Miss Universe pageant is of interest because a prominent Moscow developer, Aras Agalarov, paid $20 million to bring the beauty spectacle there. About a third of that sum went to Trump in the form of a licensing fee, according to Forbes magazine. At the event, Trump met Herman Gref, chief executive of Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank PJSC. Agalarov’s son, Emin, helped broker a meeting last year between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who was said to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton and her campaign.

Really? The allegations by the Democrats/media were initially that the Russians “rigged the election,” suggesting ballot tampering. Eight months later, with no evidence to show, it has retreated to a business dealing three years earlier with someone whose son later helped set up a meeting with someone (who amazingly enough works with US Democrats) who promised but did not provide some alleged damaging information on Hillary Clinton? (Like there isn’t enough damning information about Clinton’s corruption already on the web. Never mind, this investigation is ignoring all that.)