Schiff Wonders If 'Russians May Have Laundered Money Through the Trump Organization'

By Susan Jones | July 24, 2017 | 6:41am EDT
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sunday said Special Counsel Robert Mueller should investigate "allegations, for example, that the Russians may have laundered money through the Trump Organization." (Screen grab from CBS's "Face the Nation.)

( – President Trump told The New York Times last week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be crossing a line if he were to investigate Trump's finances and those of his family.

On Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House intelligence committee was asked for his reaction to those comments.

Well, I had a couple of impressions,” Schiff told CBS's "Face the Nation." “First, the president is clearly worried that Bob Mueller is going to be looking into allegations, for example, that the Russians may have laundered money through the Trump Organization.

That is really something, in my opinion, he needs to look at because what concerns me the most is, anything that could be held over the president's head that could influence U.S. policy, that would be among the most powerful form of compromise. So I think it is something he needs to look at.

It's something plainly the president is very concerned about, but clearly within the scope of Bob Mueller's investigation.

Schiff said Mueller has been authorized to look into “Russian connections with the Trump campaign and anything that arises from that,” including “financial issues” such as the Russians using their “financial leverage over people to influence policy.”

“That's what they do in Europe,” Schiff said. “It's part of why they like business leaders as heads of state, because they can enter into business transactions before or during that then can be used as a way of influencing their decision making. And, of course, that would be detrimental to U.S. interests.

Host John Dickerson asked Schiff if there’s any evidence that the Russians have some kind of financial leverage over Trump:

“Well, I don't want to comment on the evidence,” Schiff said.

“But I do think we need to look at each and every instrumentality the Russians have used elsewhere, some that we know that were used here, and determine, are there other ways that the Russians have sought to exercise influence, because, at the end of the day, we need to make sure that our president is operating, not in his personal best interest, and not because he's worried about what the Russians might have, but because what he is doing is in America's best interest.

“The fact that we have questions about this is in itself harmful. But we need to get answers to them so that the country can be confident that the chief executive is doing the nation's business first and foremost.”

Schiff also said he’s worried that President Trump may fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and hire a new attorney general who would then take over supervision of Mueller’s investigation.

Schiff suggested such a move would be “part of a longer term strategy to define or confine the scope of the Mueller investigation. That would be very concerning,” he added.

On Monday morning, President Trump aimed one of his tweets at Schiff, a frequent talking-head on cable news shows: "Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased Congressman looking into 'Russia,' spends all of his time on television pushing the Dem loss excuse!" Trump wrote.

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