WATCH: Ex-CIA official explains how Mueller will use IRS to nail Manafort and Flynn on Russia
In a Wednesday discussion on CNN’s “New Day,” former CIA officer Phil Mudd explained that all of the pieces are falling into place for special counsel Robert Mueller.
It was revealed Tuesday that Mueller is working with the IRS to look through financial records of those affiliated with the Russia scandal.
“If you look at tax records going back years, did someone have business deals with eastern Europe or Russia who might have had ties to last year,” Mudd proposed.
He went on to say that if investigators want to ensure they can talk to people at the periphery and at the center of President Donald Trump’s campaign, they’ll need “a hammer” of evidence to convince them to talk.
“That hammer, in this case, is going to be something like you didn’t declare income from certain sources the past few years,” Mudd explained. “You want a plea bargain? You want to talk. Talk about what you know on the campaign trail?”
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as Trump’s national security advisor, has already asked the FBI for immunity but they refused.
Mudd went on to say that he worked with Mueller for over four years and never once saw him fishing for information.
“He’s a former Marine,” Mudd said. “He’s decorated. He’s not interested in spending three years looking for blue dresses which is what we did for President Clinton. This isn’t fishing. This is a simple question: If somebody is involved in political corruption, did they take bad money? How can you not know?”
Political analyst Chris Cillizza noted that all roads seem to lead back to Trump’s tax returns and that he still refuses to release. However, Cillizza thinks that it will be Mueller’s investigation that will release them.
David Gregory explained that investigators know what happened but the real piece they’re investigating is who was guiding what all was done.
“The critical question when talking about [former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort is really, we know what Russia did. We know what Russia was trying to do. Was there someone or people guiding those efforts helping those efforts from within the campaign?” Gregory asked.
“Or who knew. They didn’t have to have help,” clarified “New Day” co-host Chris Cuomo. “If people said, ‘I have friends. We’re doing this with Facebook. Who should we target? How should we do it? Just knowing might start us spreading the stake here. It is the biggest discovery we have had to date. We always knew people were using Facebook for that. That is the stronghold of fake news. To have Facebook and the big operators turn and want to help the government, that is a big change. We have seen it, but not on this level. They have been reluctant.”
Cillizza agreed, saying that this level of microtargeting had to be coordinated with a larger campaign data mechanism. Campaigns are only now beginning to use microtargeting efforts on social media sites to reach people in swing areas and those doing the Facebook ads, if they were microtargeted, would have had to know what data the campaign was dealing with.
Russia continues to deny using Facebook ads.
Watch the full discussion below: