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‘If I was involved, I’d be nervous’: Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes division looking at Trump associates

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Senate investigators hot on the trail of potential collusion between Russia and Donald Trump are turning to a little known Treasury Department database that could provide evidence of criminal money laundering.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a huge database of financial transactions that indicate possible money laundering. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, US financial institutions are required to notify the Treasury Department of any such transactions.

“It goes to the old adage of ‘follow the money.’ If there was collusion between the Russians and members of the Trump campaign, was it for free, or was there some exchange of moneys or payments from foreign governments?” Notre Dame Law School Professor Jimmy Gurulé told NPR.

As NPR noted, “Trump made much of his fortune in real estate and gaming, two industries that have been notorious venues for money laundering.”

Professor Gurulé had oversight responsibility for FinCEN when he served as Under Secretary for Enforcement at the Treasury Department. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of anti-money laundering.

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“If I was involved with some criminal wrongdoing related to this investigation, this would make me very nervous,” Professor Gurulé says of the FinCEN database of possible money laundering transactions.

“These make for attractive landing pads, if, say, you’re a suspicious person wanted for criminal activity in your home country and you actually need a place to cool your jets,” explained Mark Hays, who heads the anti-money-laundering campaign at the nonprofit Global Witness. “You make the purchase real estate person says, ‘Who owns this company?’ It’s so-and-so LLC. ‘Well, who owns that?’ That’s not on the record. No one knows that.”

Last week, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) also focused on potential money laundering when questioning acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

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“We hear stories about Deutsche Bank, Bank of Cyprus, shell companies, Moldova, the British Virgin Islands,” Wyden said. “I’d like to get your sense, because I am over my time, Director McCabe, what should we be most concerned about with respect to illicit Russian money and its potential to be laundered on its way to the United States?”

McCabe told Senator Wyden he couldn’t speak about such aspects of the investigation in a public setting, but agreed those issues also concerned the FBI agents working the investigation.


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Trump believes white nationalism is a winning strategy — because Fox News tells him so

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Donald Trump thinks white nationalism is going to win him the 2020 election. This much is clear. Trump's racist Twitter rant on Sunday — in which he suggested that four nonwhite congresswomen, three of whom were born in the United States, are "originally" from somewhere else and should therefore "go back" — might have seemed at first like a spontaneous eruption of racist rage from the simmering bigot in the White House.

Soon, however, it became clear that this was strategic. Trump thinks it's a winning move to echo the claims of David Duke and other white nationalists who believe the United States is for white people. He justified his racism by saying that "many people agree with me," and by continuing to rave on Twitter about how the real purveyors of "racist hatred" are those who look askance at his embracing the rhetoric of Stormfront and the KKK.

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Judge boots Roger Stone off all major social media platforms in expansion of gag order

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Trump ally Roger Stone, who is due to be tried on multiple charges ranging from obstruction of justice to witness tampering later this year, got slapped this week with an expanded gag order that barred him from using all major social media platforms.

The Washington Post reports that Judge Amy Berman Jackson increased the scope of Stone's gag order and ordered him to stop communicating publicly through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Jeffrey Epstein abused new victims while out on work release as part of controversial plea deal: lawyer

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Jeffrey Epstein took advantage of his controversial lenient plea deal to sexually abuse at least one victim while out on work release, according to a victim's attorney.

Lawyer Brad Edwards said the well-connected financier was permitted to have visitors while he was supposed to be working during his 13-month jail sentence, and he said Epstein manipulated at least one person into sexual activity, reported The Daily Beast.

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