Wyden: Senate Intel Committee Must ‘Follow The Money’ In Russia Probe

March 30, 2017 12:07 p.m.

During a hearing on Thursday for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) called on the panel to investigate the finances of President Donald Trump and his associates.

Wyden said that a “key to a successful investigation is following the money,” specifying that the probe should look into entities associated with the Trump Organization.

“Yesterday I wrote a letter to the chairman and the vice chair, urging the committee look into any and all financial relationships between Russia and Donald Trump and his associates,” Wyden said, adding that he has also asked the Senate Finance Committee to obtain Trump’s tax returns.

He said that the intelligence panel’s investigation should look at the Trump Organization and its partnerships.

“It is already a matter of public record that entities associated with Donald Trump have been the subject of millions of dollars of fines for willful repeated and long standing violations of anti-money laundering laws,” the senator said during the hearing. “Information about Donald Trump’s finances, his family, and his associates may lead to Russia.”

Wyden noted that Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”

“Since then, we’ve gotten mostly smoke and mirrors,” the senator said. “The committee needs to follow the money wherever it leads. Because if money laundering, corruption of any kind, or fishy real estate deals point to the Russian oligarch’s criminal elements, then the Russian government may only be a step or two away from us.”

Wyden asked the expert witnesses at the hearing to talk about Russia’s history of money laundering and corruption so as to help the committee “track this fuzzy line between the Russian oligarchs, Russian organized crime and the Russian government.”

Two of those witnesses told Wyden that such information is sensitive and would be better discussed in a closed session.

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