Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed financial records from the Trump Organization it was learned yesterday. The organization is the umbrella company for President Trump’s real estate holdings and other business ventures. Some of the requested documents are said to be related to Russia.
It’s not clear why Mr. Mueller subpoenaed the records or whether a request for the documents had been ignored by the Trump Organization, but the development belies the notion that Mueller is on the verge of ending his investigation. The President’s legal team has been contending that for months.
President Trump has repeatedly denied having any business dealings in Russia, but Mueller has reportedly been asking witnesses about possible enterprises explored in the country. Yesterday’s subpoena is an indication that Mueller’s investigation is expanding into financial decisions made by not just by the President, but perhaps even members of the President’s family. The President’s children have run the majority of the businesses within the Trump Organization.
Recently, Mueller has been investigating whether foreign governments have influenced Trump administration policy with financial contributions. He has been questioned a Lebanese-American businessman about efforts he made, through a long-time Republican fundraiser, to gain President Trump’s support for a private military force in the United Arab Emirates developed by a company the fundraiser owns.
The Emirates has been trying to gain backing for more hostile policies toward Qatar, which it, along with other Middle Eastern and Gulf allies accuse of exporting terrorism. The Emirates has also lobbied hard for the dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson was fired earlier this week.
The President had previously called Mueller looking into his private finances, or the finances of his children, a “red line” that would cause him to consider firing Mueller. When asked about that comment yesterday White House Press Secretary would only say that “there was no collusion between the Trump campaign Russia.”
The President’s legal team has been negotiating with Mueller’s team over terms of an official face-to-face interview between the President and Mueller. They’ve reportedly offered an in-person interview with the President in exchange for a pledge from Mueller to end his investigation within sixty days of any such interview. Negotiations between Mueller’s team and the White House remain ongoing.