At the end of January, on orders from Congress, the U.S. Treasury will publish a list of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “close associates”—from oligarchs to leading officials. There won’t be any sanctions attached to this list—for now. But eventually, the people on the list will likely join dozens of top Putin lieutenants already banned from traveling or doing business in the West. Meanwhile, forensic accountants from the intelligence unit of the U.S. Treasury Department will start scrutinizing their finances.
It’s unclear if such a move would damage Putin, whose approval ratings continue to soar despite multiple rounds of sanctions. But if Treasury inspects the Kremlin’s breadcrumbs abroad, it may lead them to President Donald Trump—and ultimately help special counsel Robert Mueller.
In Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s scandalous new book about the White House, Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, warned that Mueller’s investigation will focus
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