Sen. Angus King Agrees That Money Laundering Is Probably Part of Mueller’s Probe

By Susan Jones | January 4, 2018 | 9:20am EST
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) (Photo: Screen grab/CNN)

( - Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) refused on Thursday to describe Donald Trump Junior's pre-election meeting with Russian operatives as "treasonous," as former Trump adviser Steve Bannon apparently did in a new book by Michael Wolff.

But King did agree with Bannon that the probable focus of the Robert Mueller investigation is money laundering.

Bannon apparently told author Michael Wolff he believes the Mueller probe is focused on money laundering. "What do you think of that?" CNN's Chris Cuomo, host of "New Day," asked King.


"Well I think, again, it's important to delineate the differences of the investigations that are going on,” said King, who sits on the Senate intelligence committee.

I think that question (money-laundering) is one, that as near as I can tell from sort of the emanations, if you will, from the Mueller probe -- that that is one of the subjects that they're looking into. Clearly they looked into the financial transactions of Paul Manafort -- that was one of the things that he's been indicted for. So I think that is a subject.

On our side, in the Senate intelligence committee, we're more focused on the counter-intelligence questions. What did the Russians do, how did they do it -- most importantly, how do we prevent them from doing it the next time. And then also whether there were relationship between the Russians and the Trump campaign during and leading up to the election.

I don't think money laundering is necessarily part of what our responsibility is, but I do think -- my understanding is, that the Mueller people -- and I don't have any inside knowledge whatsoever, I don't know any more than you do -- but based on the Manafort indictment, it does look like they're looking at financial questions.

As for Donald Trump Junior’s meeting with some Russians at Trump Tower, King said, "You clearly can say it was a serious mistake, a serious lack of judgement."

“This was the candidate's son, son in law, and campaign manager in Trump tower, meeting with representatives of the Russians. Clearly there was a quid pro quo that was contemplated because they talked about dirt on Hillary Clinton, but they also talked about sanctions and the Magnitsky Act. A

“And so it was a really serious lapse of judgment. And I don't usually agree with Steve Bannon, but the idea that they should have immediately called the FBI, I think, is absolutely accurate."

Asked about the progress of the Senate investigation, King said he thinks the intelligence committee "is pretty far along" in figuring out what Russia did.

But he also said at the end of 2017, revelations about Russian troll farms and the use of social media to spread disinformation “really raised a new and, I think in many ways, a most disturbing aspect of this.”

“But we’re at it,” King continued. "We’re keeping our heads down. The fact that you haven’t heard a lot doesn't mean that a lot's not going on." 

King said after hearing from more than 200 witnesses, the committee is in "pretty good shape" on what the Russians did, how they did it, "and we're going to work on recommendations in the next month or so for the states."

King said the states, which run their own election systems, are vulnerable as the mid-terms approach.  "Hopefully, we’re going to be able to produce...a set of recommendations to try to help the American people, but also particularly state election systems."

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