Russian Interference Investigations Follow Money Trail

There are still on-going investigations about Russia, but the story has unfolded since January. Every day brings revelations of astonishing information on the drama or one of its actors.

We know Russia interfered ‘bigly’ in the 2016 US elections. We also know a great deal about the weapons and tactics Russia used to interfere, such as fake news and social media gambits.

We know President Obama informed officials and sanctioned Russia for some of that meddling prior to leaving office.

We know the sitting Congress voted to instill yet more sanctions against Russia, and President Trump quietly signed that bill in early August 2017. To date, the President has yet to impose those steeper sanctions on Russia.

We know at least four actors have been charged with crimes. Some are out on bail with conditions such as ankle bracelets, others have pled guilty to charges. President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been charged in connection with a money-laundering scheme, according to the Washington Post. Manafort is currently out on a bail arrangement, forced by the Court to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet.

We know dozens of people have been interviewed (some under oath) by congressional intelligence committees, others by the Office of the Special Counsel, investigating all matters regarding Russia. It is difficult to sort out all the potential paths of people, the money, the acts, how they all intertwine and what it all means.

We know Donald Trump’s son testified in a closed congressional committee on December 6, for eight hours. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother, Erik Prince (founder of Blackwater a Military Contractor, now registered under a new name), testified to a congressional committee. The transcript of his testimony was released on December 6, 2017.

There are clues and trails not yet revealed or identified in the story, but the evidence is being introduced.

As CNN reported in “Many Paths from Trump to Russia,” near the top of the food chain is Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn became Trump’s national security adviser during the campaign, in 2016. After the election win, Trump appointed Flynn to be an advisor to him on national security issues.

After serving one month, Flynn resigned under scrutiny for failing to disclose foreign financial relationships and lying about it. Recently, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russians during the Trump transition period.

In exchange for that plea deal on those specific charges, Flynn agreed to fully cooperate with investigators. He promised full cooperation to avoid further charges that could still be brought against him, as well as the threat of real jail time.

President Trump claimed he did not have any ties to Russian money, but some trails have emerged that imply otherwise, such as a loan from a Russian bank to the tune of $300 million dollars. It is disputed by some officials, but many news agencies are now reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena to that bank for records pertaining to its investigations.

We will watch for more clues.