Wyden: Senate Intelligence Committee Must Thoroughly Review Any Financial Connections Between Russia and Trump or Trump Associates
Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today urged Senate Intelligence Committee leaders to review any financial relationships between Russia and Donald Trump or Trump associates as part of its inquiry into Russian interference in the U.S. election.
In a letter to Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., Wyden called for special attention to be placed on these follow-the-money issues involving the president and his associates’ financial connections to Russia, which have received extensive press coverage.
Wyden noted that he intends to pursue these issues as the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Treasury Department. The text of the letter is below, or view a signed copy here.
March 29, 2017
The Honorable Richard Burr The Honorable Mark Warner
Chairman Vice Chairman
U.S. Senate Select Committee on U.S. Senate Select Committee on
211 Hart Senate Office Building 703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman Warner,
I am writing to urge that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in its inquiry into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, conduct a thorough review of any and all financial relationships between Russia and President Trump and his associates.
There are reports of multiple individuals associated with the Trump campaign having received funding from Russia. For example, on March 23, 2017, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort acknowledged his previous work on behalf of Russian interests. In an August 15, 2016, interview, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn acknowledged being paid by RT, which is part of Russia’s state-run propaganda apparatus.
There have also been extensive press reporting on President Trump’s own financial relationships with Russian interests. Furthermore, the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., stated in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”
Efforts to understand these relationships and to separate fact from speculation have been hampered by the opacity of the finances of President Trump and his associates. There are also serious challenges to investigations into financial relationships involving Russia where, according to the U.S. Department of State, money laundering is prevalent and corruption is a “major source of laundered funds, with proceeds frequently moved offshore.”
As the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, I have a particular interest in thoroughly investigating the financial aspects of Russia’s connections to President Trump and his associates. On March 1, 2017, I formally requested that the Committee use its authority under IRC Section 6103 to request and review President Trump’s tax returns. As fellow members of the Senate Finance Committee, you no doubt fully appreciate the complexity and importance of pursuing these matters as well as the unique responsibilities and authorities held by the Finance Committee.
At the same time, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s inquiry provides an opportunity to immediately address these matters. The inquiry includes counterintelligence concerns related to Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, including any intelligence regarding links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns, a scope that encompasses any financial links. Moreover, the Committee has long recognized the importance of finances to its oversight role. As one recent Committee report noted, “[f]inancial intelligence has emerged as a significant area of [Intelligence Community] activity, aiming to ‘follow the money’ of adversaries.”
I appreciate your leadership in initiating the Committee’s inquiry, in assuring that its scope covers these and other critical matters, and in committing to open hearings and declassified findings. As you have further indicated, the Committee should be prepared to issue subpoenas should information necessary to the inquiry, on this or any other topic, be withheld.
I look forward to working with you on this critical matter.
United States Senator
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