The Current

Trump more concerned with money than leading the U.S., says Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Now that the Democrats control Congress in the U.S., investigations into alleged ties between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia could enter a new phase. We look at what's happened, and what's next, with Greg Miller, national security correspondent for The Washington Post and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

Public may be unmoved unless Mueller report contains 'smoking gun,' says Greg Miller

The U.S. House intelligence committee announced Wednesday that it is launching a new investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Donald Trump's foreign financial interests. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Money matters more to U.S. President Donald Trump than "the fate of the country he's leading right now," according to a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has written about the president's alleged ties to Russia.

"I asked one of my colleagues the other day, 'What do you think Trump would prefer ... given the choice between going down in history as a well-regarded president, or emerging from his presidency with a Trump Tower deal in Moscow,'" said Greg Miller, author of The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy.

"I suspect it would be the latter," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"[Trump] measures everything by these financial metrics and in wealth — that I just think that is what he is all about."

On Wednesday, Democrat Adam Schiff announced that the U.S. House intelligence committee is launching a new investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Trump's foreign financial interests.

Trump had been in negotiations to build a tower bearing his name in Moscow, which never materialized. His former lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress in 2017 that all discussions of the Moscow Trump Tower project ended by January 2016. But he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in November, and said discussions had actually continued until June of that year, as Trump was securing the Republican nomination for president.

Schiff said the new probe was about "making sure that the policy of the United States is being driven by the national interest, not by any financial entanglement, financial leverage or other form of compromise."

Trump called the investigation "presidential harassment."

The Mueller report into alleged collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia is reportedly almost complete. (REUTERS)
Trump meeting Putin in Helsinki was important moment in history, Greg Miller tells Anna Maria Tremonti. 2:17

The news comes one week after acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia is "close to being completed."

"My guess is that the Mueller report, if and when we see it, is going to be a catalogue of just astonishing conduct by a campaign and by a president," said Miller, who is also the national security correspondent for the Washington Post.

However, the twists and turns of the Trump presidency could mean the public will be unmoved by anything less than "a smoking-gun audiotape of Trump talking with Putin, and agreeing to fix the 2016 race," he said.

"In any other era, in any other administration, almost any one of these single details would have been devastating, if not fatal, to a presidency." 

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.


With files from The Associated Press. Produced by Howard Goldenthal.

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