U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to the Treasury Department Feb. 9 asking for documents related to President Donald Trump's sale of a Palm Beach mansion to a wealthy Russian oligarch in 2008.
"It is imperative that Congress follow the money and conduct a thorough investigation into any potential money laundering or other illicit financial dealings between the President, his associates, and Russia," Wyden wrote in the letter. It was first reported by CNN this weekend.
For nearly a year, Wyden has been gesturing toward an investigation of Trump's financial connections to Russian oligarchs—and asking whether those links left him vulnerable to Moscow's influence during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"You have the first president in decades that won't release his tax returns," Wyden told WW last May, "and [he's] saying in 2008, a time when it was hard for people to get money, that much of [his] portfolio consisted of Russian money.
"I'm interested in potential money laundering, matters relating to shell corporations, and matters related to property transfers."
As a longtime member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Wyden is in a prime position to ask uncomfortable questions about the president's foreign ties.
WW Cover Story: What ties Trump to Russia? Ron Wyden wants answers.
Trump bought the Florida property in 2004 for about $41 million, but four years later sold it to Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million. Wyden suggests the inflated price raises questions about whether the real estate deal had nefarious intentions.
Rybolovlev, known for his expensive taste in art and property, was named on a federal watchlist of wealthy Russians with close ties to the Kremlin last month.
"In the context of the President's then-precarious financial position, I believe that the Palm Beach property sale warrants further scrutiny," Wyden wrote.