The US prepares a new set of sanctions against Russian oligarchs
06 April, 2018, 04:15 | Author: Jason Torres
The United States plans to sanction Russian oligarchs this week under a law targeting Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, in what could be the most aggressive move so far against Russia's business elite.
That news comes as Russia's relations with the West have deteriorated following accusations the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the U.K. It also comes amid reports special counselRobert Mueller is questioning Russian oligarchs in his ongoing investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
One oligarch, according to sources who spoke to CNN, had his electronic devices searched after his private jet landed at a NY airport. It was unclear if he had his devices scanned.
The network is also reporting that Mueller's team stopped a second Russian, and reached out to a third making an informal and voluntary document and interview request.
Foreign donations to US presidential campaigns are illegal, but Mueller is trying to find out if the oligarchs sought to evade the law.
The revelation signals that Mueller is aggressively exploring a broad range of angles into whether there was any type of coordination between the Russian government and Trump's campaign.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb also declined to comment, saying the president's legal team does not discuss conversations with the special counsel. But Mueller's office has not previously revealed an interest in speaking with Russian oligarchs directly.
"We're not aware of this", Cobb told the Daily News Wednesday afternoon. Under campaign finance laws, foreign nationals are not allowed to donate to USA political campaigns.
CNN learned that investigators are interested in links between Russians and think tanks or companies that have political action committees that may have donated to the president's campaign.
Thirteen Russian nationals working for the Kremlin's so-called Internet Research Agency were indicted by Mueller earlier this year for meddling in the 2016 election in a deliberate attempt to boost Trump's campaign and disparage Hillary Clinton.
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