Senate investigators have been locked in a quiet showdown with the Trump administration over records that they believe could help expose possible hidden dealings between Trump campaign insiders and wealthy Russian or Eastern European business partners.
The stand-off over records from the Treasury Department’s financial intelligence section led Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden to hold up the nomination of President Trump’s pick for Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, New York attorney Sigal Mandelker, until investigators have access to the federal banking records detailing suspicious financial transactions around the globe. A vote on her nomination is on the calendar for this week, suggesting the two sides are close to a deal.
“We’re in talks right now,” Wyden told ABC News on Monday. “I’m hopeful we’ll be able to get what we need.”
Senate investigators have been in talks with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, since May over access to the banking records.
“I have stated repeatedly that we have to follow the money if we are going to get to the bottom of how Russia has attacked our democracy,” he said in May. “That means thoroughly review any information that relates to financial connections between Russia and President Trump and his associates, whether direct or laundered through hidden or illicit transactions. The office which Ms. Mandelker has been nominated to head is responsible for much of this information.”
A spokesman for FinCen declined to comment, citing a policy “to never confirm or deny, or comment on any investigations.”
FinCEN, the Treasury agency responsible for tracking the illegal movement of money, maintains a database of millions of transactions that have been flagged by banks as unusual or problematic, known as Suspicious Activity Reports, or SARs. Law enforcement agencies around the country have access to the information, but so far congressional…