Politico

Schiff says FBI hasn't probed national security risks of Trump's foreign financial ties


The FBI’s counterintelligence division does not appear to have investigated national security risks connected to Trump’s foreign financial ties, the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday in a newly released legal analysis.

The assessment was contained in a footnote as part of a move by Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to narrow the scope of a year-old subpoena to Deutsche Bank for records related to the finances of Trump, his family members and the Trump organization. The Intelligence Committee is investigating Trump’s banking relationships with the House Financial Services Committee, led by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

“Based on the Committee’s review, it does not appear that Special Counsel Mueller issued any grand jury subpoenas to obtain the President’s financial records. The Committee also has reason to believe, based on its oversight work, that the FBI Counterintelligence Division has not investigated counterintelligence risks arising from President Trump’s foreign financial ties,” Schiff wrote in his 25-page analysis. In addition to the FBI, Schiff reiterated that special counsel Robert Mueller similarly issued no subpoenas to pursue details about Trump’s foreign financial entanglements.

“The Committee’s investigation remains urgent and necessary, particularly in light of the apparent lack of any such inquiry by the Executive Branch,” Schiff wrote in his analysis.

Schiff made the decision to narrow his panel’s subpoena in a nod to a Supreme Court’s ruling last month that called for subpoenas related to the president’s personal papers to be narrowly tailored.

“Although not required by the Supreme Court’s opinion, the Committee will voluntarily narrow its subpoena to those records that are absolutely necessary to satisfy the Committee’s investigative needs and to fulfill the Committee’s legitimate oversight and legislative objectives,” Schiff said in a statement.

In the legal analysis, Schiff said the committee will no longer pursue certain documents that pre-date Jan. 1, 2015 and will limit the request to Trump and his adult children, Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric, as well as the Trump Organization. This would exclude other family members initially included in the subpoena. The revised subpoena would also only seek details about transactions of $10,000 or more, and limit the request to documents that reveal “any financial relationships, transactions, or ties between any of the Covered Parties and any foreign individual, entity, or government,” with a few exceptions.

The move came on the eve of a required filing with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which asked the House to describe by Wednesday the impact of the Supreme Court’s Trump v. Mazars ruling on the legal wrangling Deutsche Bank subpoena. The court had ruled in a separate subpoena dispute between Trump and the House Oversight Committee, which subpoenaed the president’s accounting firm Mazars USA for the president’s financial records. The court ruled that while Congress can access the records for limited purposes, the lower courts had failed to apply a rigorous test about Congress’ need for the documents.

The confirmation that Mueller did not subpoena Trump’s financial records was notable because the president had indicated it was a “red line” in that probe — leaving Democrats wondering at the outset of their investigation whether the special counsel had crossed it.

Mueller indicated during his testimony to the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees that he was more focused on pursuing criminal investigations than counterintelligence risks. Mueller told lawmakers he was never instructed not to touch Trump’s finances, but those matters were less central to his probe.

Schiff said his committee will continue to negotiate with Trump’s lawyers to gain their consent for Deutsche Bank to release the documents but that the panel was prepared to proceed with litigation to obtain “full compliance” with the narrowed subpoena. A spokesperson for the Financial Services Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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