Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Monday suggested that President Donald Trump is being driven crazy as special counsel Robert Mueller examines potential business transactions between the Trump Organization and foreign governments.
Reacting to the latest revelations that Russian officials had directly reached out to former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen all the way back in 2015 to discuss political “synergy” with the president’s campaign, Steele said he wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Trump’s dealings with Russia went back even further.
“The thing about the Russia piece, it’s all about the financing,” Steele said. “Donald Trump Jr. himself said, ‘How do you think we financed our golf courses? How do you think we financed these big projects?’ It was the Russians.”
Trump Jr. in 2008 admitted publicly that Russians “make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” when it came to financing real estate projects, and Eric Trump reportedly admitted in 2014 that Russians were responsible for financing new Trump-branded golf courses.
In addition to Trump’s ties to Russia, Steele suggested that Saudi Arabia could also be assisting the president’s businesses with hefty spending at his hotels.
“There are two countries where the president’s approach to foreign policy makes absolutely zero sense,” host Stephanie Ruhle interjected, referring to Russia and Saudi Arabia. “And it’s the two countries with business ties.”
Steele agreed and suggested that Mueller has been working to dig up the goods on what those ties are.
“Mueller is on this like a dog on a bone,” said Steele. “And it’s driving Trump nuts.”
Watch the video below.
Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal
The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.
One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.
Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned
In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.
Jim Jordan’s attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman at impeachment hearing badly backfire
Republicans tried to raise doubts about Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s credibility and loyalty during Tuesday’s impeachment hearing. Their attacks appeared to backfire.
Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and an Iraq war veteran who earned a Purple Heart after being wounded in combat, faced questions from the House Intelligence Committee in full uniform.
This piece first appeared at Salon.com.Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was transferred to the Intelligence Committee specifically for the impeachment hearings, attempted to discredit the witness during his questioning.