Trump Organization gave Russia-related documents to Mueller, Capitol Hill
Posted January 3, 2018 6:53 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Trump Organization has provided documents on a range of events, conversations and meetings from President Donald Trump's real estate business to investigators probing Russian election meddling, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The bulk of the information is focused on the period between June 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy, and his January 2017 inauguration.
The information provided in 2017 to special counsel Robert Mueller's team and congressional investigators so far involves the activities of the company's executives as well as meetings and events, including emails and calendar entries, mostly connected to campaign-related matters, according to two of the sources.
The Trump Organization produced records that include information related to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, the billionaire Agalarov family of Russia, head of the US-based Russian American Chamber of Commerce Sergei Millian, a paid speech Donald Trump Jr. gave in October 2016 to a Russia-friendly policy think tank in Paris, Trump's foreign policy address in April 2016 at Washington's Mayflower Hotel and communications regarding WikiLeaks, two of the sources said.
The requests so far have not included financial information from previous years of Trump's business, according to the two sources. In July, the President warned in an interview with The New York Times that his financial dealings were a red line that investigators shouldn't cross.
The Trump Organization declined to comment.
CNN has previously reported that the FBI probe -- now managed by Mueller -- had widened to include possible financial crimes unrelated to the 2016 election.
In August, sources told CNN that the FBI had reviewed financial records related to the Trump Organization, as well as Trump, his family members and campaign associates. They had combed through the list of shell companies and buyers of Trump-branded real estate properties and scrutinized the roster of tenants at Trump Tower reaching back more than several years.
Mueller may have tapped other sources to learn more about the family business. Separately, lawyers for Trump have denied that Deutsche Bank, which loaned Trump millions of dollars when he was a businessman and is also the main bank for his personal accounts, has responded to subpoenas from the special counsel.
Deutsche Bank has also resisted calls from Democrats in Congress who want similar information from the bank.
More broadly, House Democrats say they're frustrated by their Republican counterparts who are preventing a full investigation into the Trump Organization's real estate deals and key officials in the President's orbit. These lawmakers are considering issuing their own report detailing what they view as the unexplored parts of the inquiry.
Meanwhile, the co-founders of the firm behind the dossier by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele are publicly echoing Democrats, criticizing the Republicans' handling of the investigation. In a New York Times op-ed this week, they called on Congress to examine Trump's financial interests.
Documents regarding a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow have also been turned over to congressional investigators by longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The proposal, which Trump himself signed off on pursuing, was being considered as the primaries were starting.
"Investigators may be probing Trump's Russian business ties to determine whether that foundation may have set the table for political cooperation," said CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, who served as a federal prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.
The Trump Organization has turned over records related to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting where Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer and her associates. The purpose of the meeting, according to emails sent beforehand to Trump Jr., was to give the campaign dirt on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov, who partnered with the Trump Organization to hold the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, helped arrange the meeting, and the Trump Organization has handed over documents about the Agalarovs.
The Trump Organization has also produced documents about a paid speech Trump Jr. gave to a Russia-friendly think tank in Paris shortly before the 2016 election. One of the group's founders also leads a Moscow-endorsed Syrian opposition group and has met with many senior Russian officials. Trump Jr. was paid at least $50,000 to attend the event, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Investigators also received records the Trump Organization had about Trump's major foreign policy address in April 2016. The speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington attracted attention because then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attended it. He also showed up at a private VIP gathering before the speech. In addition, Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos helped edit the remarks, according to Papadopoulos' fiancée. Papadopoulos has told investigators he had been approached by Russians seeking contact with the Trump campaign. Kushner has acknowledged briefly speaking to Kislyak during that private reception. Trump and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions -- now the attorney general -- were also in the room, though Sessions says he doesn't remember meeting Kislyak.
Trump's business empire also turned over documents about Sergei Millian, a Russian-American businessman who has had some interactions and communications with Trump's team over the years, though it is not clear that he ever had a substantive relationship with the Trump Organization. The Washington Post previously reported that Millian could be a source in the Trump-Russia dossier.
The Trump Organization also provided investigators with documents about WikiLeaks, two of the sources said. WikiLeaks played a critical role in the campaign by releasing damaging emails about Clinton and her campaign that were stolen by Russian government hackers. After those releases began, but before the election, Trump Jr. exchanged some private messages on Twitter with the WikiLeaks account.