In the immortal words of Heath Ledger’s “Joker”: HERE. WE. GO.
The New York Times is reporting on a still developing story that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents concerning business dealings, some connected to (but not limited to) Russia.
This story comes on the heels of the story of George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who has been cooperating with Mueller’s team and was apparently present in a Seychelles meeting between Blackwater founder and Trump supporter, Erik Prince, several Russians with ties to the Kremlin, and an Arab spy, also connected to the Kremlin.
According to Nader, Prince previously lied by saying it was a chance meeting. Nader has said he set the meeting up, himself, and it was in order to establish a backchannel line of communication between the Trump team and Moscow.
The latest word with Mueller’s probe is that it is expanding beyond just Russian collusion and obstruction of an investigation, and is also covering the role of foreign money that may have been involved with the Trump campaign.
Much to the consternation of Trump loyalists, Mueller’s probe is not as limited as that of House and Senate Intel.
Neither White House officials nor Alan S. Futerfas, a lawyer representing the Trump Organization, immediately responded to requests for comment. The Trump Organization has typically complied with requests from congressional investigators for documents for their own inquiries into Russian election interference, and there was no indication the company planned to fight Mr. Mueller about it.
The Trump Organization has said that it never had real estate holdings in Russia, but witnesses recently interviewed by Mr. Mueller have been asked about a possible real estate deal in Moscow. In 2015, a longtime business associate of Mr. Trump’s emailed Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, at his Trump Organization account claiming he had ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and said that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would help Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.
Well, that’s troublesome.
Mr. Trump signed a nonbinding “letter of intent” for the project in 2015 and discussed it three times with Mr. Cohen.
Even more troublesome.
Trump has previously suggested that if Mueller’s probe ventured outside of his role as president, that he’d pull the plug. He has been warned by his counsel, however, that firing Mueller would be a very bad, awful, not good idea.
Well, this sounds like Mueller has ventured into No Man’s Land.
Now we wait to see if Trump panics and fires Mueller, or if his company complies with the subpoena. Some are pointing to the significance of Mueller issuing a subpoena, rather than simply asking for the documents he’s looking for. That would indicate that Mueller expects there to be some resistance.