The Trump Tower meeting with the Russians: follow the money!

“Follow the money.” This quote was first made famous by the 1976 movie All the President’s Men, which depicted the real life Watergate downfall of Richard Nixon at the hands of investigative journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. In the film, a source going by the name Deep Throat helped to push the journalists in the right direction by directing them to follow the money spent in the coverup of the Watergate break-in. Since then, the phrase has been frequently used in investigations ranging from the mob to white-collar crimes. It came full circle in February 2017 when Bernstein used the phrase to encourage reporters to investigate Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest.

While Trump is currently being investigated for practically everything he has done in his adult life, his current greatest fear is likely Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump-Russia treason. The most glaring evidence publicly known so far of Trump’s efforts to conspire with Russia is the infamous Trump Tower meeting, which consisted of his campaign manager Paul Manafort, his son Don Jr., and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who all met with a group of Russians who were dangling dirt about Hillary Clinton.

On June 3, 2016, the same day that Don Jr. received the initial email, $3.3 million began to move between two of individuals who initiated the meeting. According to Buzzfeed, “although the documents do not directly link the $3.3 million to the meeting, they show that officials at three separate banks raised red flags about the funds.” With Aras Agalarov – a Russian oligarch worth billions of dollars and close friend to Russian President Vladimir Putin – involved in the transactions, some might think such sums of cash moving between individuals is not that unusual. That theory was debunked when the recipient of the money, Agalorov’s long time employee Irakly Kaveladze, continually changed his story while attempting to explain his business purpose to multiple banks involved in the transactions. After telling JP Morgan Chase he was involved in “transportation equipment and supplies merchant wholesaler,” he told Citibank it was a “music promotion company.”

If Kaveladze’s trouble remembering what his company does seems suspicious, the fact that he was previously investigated for Russian money laundering is certainly a red flag. After a report in the year 2000 found that Kaveladze created more than 2,000 corporations in Delaware to allow Russian real estate brokers to transfer $1.4 billion, Kaveladze actually called the investigation a “witch hunt.” It certainly seems that has become the go-to claim when guilty people are being investigated, and Mueller is sure to follow the money.