Trump personal finances investigation, probe into president’s finances.
The Democratic chairman of the US House of Representatives intelligence committee has announced a sweeping new investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election that will also look at the personal finances of Donald Trump and possible connections between the president’s associates and Moscow.
Adam Schiff said he and fellow congressional investigators would be chasing “credible reports of money laundering and financial compromise related to the business interests of President Trump, his family and his associates”.
He added: “The president’s actions and posture towards Russia during the campaign, transition and administration have only heightened fears of foreign financial or other leverage over President Trump and underscore the need to determine whether he or those in his administration have acted in service of foreign interests since taking office.”
The investigation highlights the new dynamics of the new Democrat-controlled House, which is using its new political powers to exert significant pressure on Mr Trump, who is already under siege from a months-long special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller.
Mr Trump played down the significance of the new investigation on Wednesday, initially suggesting that he had “never heard of” Mr Schiff, despite the fact that he has previously tweeted about the California Democrat, before calling the congressman “a political hack” who had “no basis” to launch the investigation.
“No other politician has to go through [this type of scrutiny],” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House. “It’s called presidential harassment. And it’s unfortunate. And it really does hurt our country.”
In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Mr Trump warned that “foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations” were the only things that could stop the “economic miracle” occurring under his presidency.
Mr Schiff’s decision to announce the new investigation comes close to a year after the previous House intelligence committee, under Republican leadership, announced it would be closing its probe into collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, which it said it had found no credible evidence to support.
Democrats have countered that some of the committee’s key witnesses had since either admitted or been found to have been untruthful in parts of their testimony to Congress, among them Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer.
Mr Cohen had been due to testify before the new House intelligence committee in a closed-door session. However, Mr Schiff announced on Tuesday that this hearing would be delayed until the end of the month “in the interests of the investigation” — presumably referring to Mr Mueller’s probe.
In addition to looking at the continuing Russia investigation, congressional Democrats have also vowed to examine Mr Trump’s tax returns — to ensure he had complied with federal tax law before his presidential run — as well as to look at controversial Trump administration policies, such as family separation.
While Republicans have accused Democrats of using the investigations for partisan purposes, Democrats have rejected the accusations.
Mr Schiff said of his own investigation: “Congress has a duty to expose foreign interference, hold Russia to account, ensure that US officials — including the president — are serving the national interest and, if not, are held accountable.”