One thing has been clear as the months of the Russia scandal have dragged on — the president and his team either have no idea how to act in accordance with their claims of innocence or they are hiding something. Trump has sought to obstruct the Russia investigation at what seems like every turn — but it’s continued to move forward anyway.
One of the four Trump associates to have so far faced charges related to the scandal is Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign manager. He and his associate were discovered by Mueller’s team to have carried on with a money laundering scheme meant to hide millions of dollars.
According to the outlet, Mueller’s office, in line with its mandate to investigate any areas of interest that may arise during the course of their inquiry, is now looking into an array of suspicious financial transactions that the government had already been warned about.
The transactions under scrutiny include a $120,000 payout from the Russian Embassy to the now former Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, ten days after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Kislyak is the Russian Ambassador who was in contact with Jeff Sessions in repeated instances that the now Attorney General conveniently thought weren’t relevant when being questioned.
The dates of those checks are significant because they coincide with the 2014 Crimean status referendum meant to poll voters in Crimea on the question of whether or not they wanted to join Russia.
Unsurprisingly, considering the fact that Russia was involved to the point of having military in the region at the time, the referendum turned out in the Russians’ favor, but it was globally regarded as illegitimate.
Other points under investigation include someone having attempted to withdraw $150,000 cash from the embassy’s account just five days after Trump’s inauguration. Citibank blocked that transaction because of how abnormal it was.
Also under consideration are the facts that “[o]ver five years, the Russian Cultural Centre — an arm of the government… sent $325,000 in checks that banking officials flagged as suspicious” and that the D.C. Russian Embassy “sent more than $2.4 million to small home-improvement companies controlled by a Russian immigrant living not far from there” between 2013 and 2017.
Ironically, “home improvement” is the same thing that Manafort used some of his laundered money for.