The Senate Intelligence committee, the only bipartisan Congressional investigation into the alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government, has left out three key figures in requests to the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit, Buzzfeed News Reports.
The list of 45 names conveniently omits Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and President Bone Spurs himself, Donald J. Trump.
Buzzfeed interviewed Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the committee, who declined to comment on specific requests to Treasury, but insisted the committee is making a “major mistake” in not prioritizing financial issues.
“Overall, the committee’s approach to follow-the-money issues has been wholly deficient and in my view, does not adhere to the whole principle of what we’re supposed to be about, which is counterintelligence… If you want to compromise people, you do it with dough.”
Though not necessarily a damning statement, it does suggest the omission could leave a serious hole in the findings of Congress’ leading probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The information in question stems from a series of letters sent to the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network last year.
In the series, the Senate Intelligence Committee requested financial information on 45 people or entities. From noteworthy names like former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to many of those involved in the now infamous Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians, the request appears thorough but on closer inspection is shockingly incomplete.
Absent from the letters is Ivanka’s trophy husband and resident milk-toast real estate developer turned White House adviser Jared Kushner; Danity Kane superfan who never met a bottle of hair mousse he didn’t like Donald Trump Jr.; and of course, the sentient blob of congealed Big Mac sauce himself, President Trump.
It is worth noting that Don Jr. agreed to the meeting in Trump Tower after music publicist Rob Goldstone (also present at the meeting, whose financial information was requested) promised “information that would incriminate” Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support of Trump.”
A source close to the committee said some members would have liked to request financial information on figures such the three listed above, but Republicans were not interested.
Buzzfeed interviewed North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican and the committee chair, back in January and inquired about the peculiar omission. At the time, he said, “I’ve never said we didn’t request information from them,” but failed to elaborate. In a recent attempt for follow up, he declined to comment.
Republican Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the committee vice chair, also declined to comment, they report.
To his credit, Wyden said he has spoken “repeatedly” with Burr about more aggressively pursuing the financial angle. Apparently, the chair “really believes that these issues are not a central part of what the committee is supposed to be about.”
When pressed about the mounting frustration of some of his colleagues, Burr apparently told Buzzfeed, “Tell ’em to come see me.”
Wyden has taken a few additional steps in his attempt to bring bipartisanship back to this investigation. In May, he placed a hold on the nomination of Sigal Mandelker to be the Treasury’s undersecretary of terrorism and financial intelligence.
The nomination is effectively blocked until June, when he said the Treasury had begun sending documents that would “be sufficient to start following the money.”
He has placed an additional hold on the nomination of the would-be assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis Isabel Patelunas, hoping to coerce FinCEN to turn over documents to the Finance Committee he believes necessary for the investigation.
Taking a page from the Huckabee Sanders book of deception, Burr dismisses the tension between his committee and the treasury. “Everything we have requested, to the best of my knowledge, has been provided to us. Some just came in last Friday.”
Of course, he said that two weeks ago and refused to identify which documents “just came in.”
Sounds like we might have another case of Republicans falling on their sword for their hot-headed master.
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