Robert Mueller Is Now Reportedly Scouring the Troubling Financial Links Between Trump and Russia

Several Russian oligarchs have been questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators as part of the probe into foreign interference in the 2016 election, according to a CNN report.

Mueller took this bold step—not previously reported—as he probes the potentially explosive question of whether the wealthy Russians donated to Trump's 2016 campaign. It is illegal for foreign nationals to donate to American political campaigns, and any campaign that knowingly accepted such funds would be in violation of federal election law.

CNN found that the special counsel's team has been stopping the oligarchs at U.S. airports, sometimes using search warrants to obtain electronic records. If the Russians did provide donations to the campaign, they may have been funneled through think tanks, political action committees, or American citizens. Previous reporting from NPR found that Russian politicians used the National Rifle Association to gain access to American politics.

If this reporting, attributed to anonymous sources, is accurate, it completely undermines the widely held belief among many conservative commentators that Mueller has given up investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

The CNN reporters Kara Scannell and Shimon Prokupecz were not able to ascertain how far Mueller has made it in this inquiry. He may still be searching for preliminary evidence of connections between the Russians and the campaign, or he could be merely attempting to corroborate ties that he has already uncovered—and potentially catch the oligarchs in a lie about what he already knows.

What's clear is that, assuming the report is true, the special counsel's team is not timid. They are willing to go after powerful figures to get the information they want.


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