President Trump drew a red line in the sand for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible treason or other crimes by individuals in the Trump circle, likely including Trump himself and his son Donald Jr., and others, and warned him not to cross it. That line: investigating his family finances.
Of course, it’s a ridiculous line to draw. What else could me more relevant to an intelligence investigation, or an investigation into possible criminal collusion and electioneering, than to look into the finances of the principals involved? And so, it’s unsurprising that Mueller has stomped all over that line, calling Trump’s bluff in the same methodical, unrelenting manner Mueller himself is known for.
Now it has come to light through reporting by The Daily Beast that Mueller’s team is working closely with the IRS to advance the investigation. And not just with the IRS generally, but with a unit within the IRS that specializes in financial crimes, including money laundering, tax evasion, and the like: the infamous “CI” – or Criminal Investigations unit.
These are the literal “Untouchables” – the same infamous core investigative unit that famously took Al Capone down. They don’t take cases they can’t win – as evidenced by their 90+% conviction rate, a record unparalleled in law enforcement.
These are just the kind of people who are experts in tracking dark money, and uncovering hidden money trails. If you want to really, truly follow the money, these are the financial bloodhounds who can do it. And as Capone learned the hard way, these dogs have teeth, and once they sink their teeth into you – good luck getting away.
“Wrapped Up With A Ribbon & A Bow”
If Trump is guilty, and as pointed out by a former Watergate Prosecutor, he’s sure acting guilty, he should be deeply worried about this. As Martin Sheil, a former agent who retired from the team told The Daily Beast, this unit has expertise that the FBI just doesn’t have.
“The FBI’s expertise is spread out over so many statutes, and particularly since 9/11, where they really focused on counterintelligence and counterterror, that they simply don’t have the financial investigative expertise that the CI agents have.” .. “When CI brings a case to a U.S. Attorney, it is done. It’s wrapped up with a ribbon and a bow. It’s just comprehensive.”
This comes hot on the heels of more news of another big move by Team Mueller, teaming up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, to dig into any ties between Trump’s former campaign Manager, Paul Manafort, and Russia – including Russian Oligarch’s tied to Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin.
Not coincidentally, Schneiderman was already investigating Manafort for sketchy real-estate dealings – perhaps not surprising for someone so closely connected to the long time King of sketchy real-estate deals, Donald J. Trump. But with Mueller, Schneiderman is now also looking into financial crimes Manafort may have committed in New York, including money laundering.
This should scare the hell out of anyone in Trumpland who is guilty, and knows it. Which is widely thought to be part of why Trump pardoned controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio – the man who called himself “America’s toughest sheriff”, and “America’s Jailer”, but wimped out on the prospect of jail time himself. If ever anyone was more deserving of a taste of their own medicine than Arpaio, this writer can’t think of them. But Trump didn’t even let Arpaio contemplate the feeling of being sentenced, much less actually jailed for a bit before being pardoned. Timing which is very suspect, unless you consider the signal it sends to those currently standing between Mueller, and Trump – and likely to be offered immunity or lenience for testimony.
And now it’s becoming more and more clear how these investigations inter-connect. As highlighted in the TV drama “The Americans” (which could only be more relevant if the spy family at the center of the plot gets into the New York real estate game and moves from their “decadent” circa 1980’s upper middle class suburban family home, to a gilded penthouse atop a New York skyscraper, and start talking about someday running for President) the FBI has a long history of expertise in counter intelligence investigations. The IRS is expert at following a money trail, even if it passes through a laundromat. New York’s AG Office is both expert at, and has local jurisdiction over, the specific kind of money laundering and real estate crimes that are unique to the City That Never Sleeps. And as a Special Counsel, Mueller has the kind of power the FBI Director Trump fired, James Comey, could only dream of.
Together these investigative units make up the four horseman of Donald Trump’s personal apocalypse. And from all indications, they’re about to take that red line Trump drew, and tie it into a noose.
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