At a Q&A Tuesday morning at the Council on Foreign Relations, House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said that the Mueller probe should have looked into possible financial ties between Donald Trump and Russia.
QUESTION: To me, one of the great holes in the Mueller report is his failure to look at money. He doesn't address potential Russian contributions to the campaign or to the Trump family. What is the House going to do to give some priority to the investigation of Russian use of financing to undermine our democracy?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Well, this has been a concern I've had for quite some time. It appeared to me that Mueller was not following the money. And it was my view and remains my view that the scope of what he was given to do allowed him to follow the money. But whether he made the decision or Rod Rosenstein made it for him that that charter should be viewed narrowly and didn't include looking at the issue of money laundering, I don't know. It's one of the questions I would like to ask him.
But there's no indication at all in the report that that's something Mueller looked at. I think it would be negligent for us not to. If the financial leverage that the Russians hold over the president is not just the dangling of Moscow Trump Tower, but that they've been doing business with him for years and laundering money through the business, that could be equally more compromising, since that would be criminal activity. I don't know that is the base, maybe when we research this, maybe we'll find it's not the case. But we have begun that investigation already. We're already in litigation over Deutsche Bank and other financial records.
And because this president has chosen to be so opaque about his financial interests, I think we have to look into this prudently. We're trying to follow the money. So far the court opinions have been enormously positive in the two cases that have gone to opinion so far and the Deutsche Bank litigation, as well as the accounting litigation, the court has not only made short shrift of the Trump administration's arguments, it was basically the sort of legal opinion equivalent of "get out of here and don't let the courthouse doors hit you in the backside on the way out." They didn't even find serious legal questions raised by the Trump lawyers. And so, you know, I think the Trump lawyers know they have no legal argument. But they feel as long as they can draw this out and stall this, they can push this possibly beyond 2020, they'll delay it as long as possible. But the courts seem more than aware of this and are moving with all speed to resolve these questions, which I think is very positive.