Yesterday, the Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee held an urgent and secret meeting with FBI Director James Comey in the Senate basement which only became knowledge because someone spotted Comey entering the building. Afterward, the Democrats on the committee, who had long been publicly prodding Comey to treat the Donald Trump-Russia investigation with more urgency, were strangely quiet when asked about the matter by reporters. Now we may know why.
Today’s latest leak from the U.S. intelligence community to the media reveals that the FBI is knee deep in an investigation into middlemen and front companies which connect Donald Trump and his associates financially to Russia. Trump has long claimed he has no financial connections to Russia whatsoever, although his son Donald Jr. causally admitted otherwise years ago. It was already known that the FBI was investigating Russian election hacking, and also investigating four Trump campaign advisors who colluded with Russian intel officials the election. But word of an FBI investigation into Trump’s financial ties to Russia is new, and marks a significant turn in the Trump-Russia scandal.
Trump’s deep financial debts to banks in China and Germany have long been documented. But despite the countless suspicious ties between Trump and Russia which have emerged during and after the campaign, there has been up to now no publicly available proof that Trump is financially in debt to Russia. If Trump has been illegally conducting and disguising financial business with Russia, and particularly if that business involves him being financially dependent on Russia, it would prove the motive for his bizarrely pro-Russia political policies and actions.
Given the timing of the leak, it seems probable, though not conclusive, that this is the information which FBI Director James Comey shared with with the Senate Intelligence Community yesterday. Whatever Comey shared with them, it was substantial enough that the Democrats on the committee appeared to finally decide they were satisfied with the effort Comey and the FBI were making on the matter, thus calling off their ongoing complaints to the media about him.
Reuters was the first to report on this newly uncovered FBI investigation into Trump’s financial ties to Russia, which is being run out of the FBI’s Washington DC field office. Republicans on the Senate Intel Committee appear to have found Comey’s briefing yesterday to be so definitively damning of Trump that they’re now moving ahead with securing the Trump-Russia evidence in order to prevent Donald Trump from shredding it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report