Fact-checking Steven Mnuchin’s comments on his FBI probe
Consequently, after my report on an FBI investigation that involves Trump’s Treasury choice Steven Mnuchin, the FBI was told by Senator Sherrod Brown to present the files and argued by reviving the issues during the confirmation hearing of Mnuchin. Although the responses given by Mnuchin might not entirely be false, several questions were raised as a result of its inaccuracy.
A transcription provided by Deadline indicated that Senator Brown brought up the matter with Mnuchin within the context of insider loans.
“The relativity media deal was among the instances of an insider loan. An FOIA request that was relevant to the Relativity Media was refused by the FBI where you co-chair referencing among the policies of law enforcement. Has the law enforcement questioned you on this?”
Mnuchin denied the fact and indicated that the law enforcement agency has questioned him that
“I have not….. I presume that a thorough analysis of my background report has been done. I have no knowledge of the reason the FOIA issue was not approved. I have also been informed and believe the issue was related to me. This question would have to be directed to the FBI.”
The exchange can be seen below.
In the entire context, Mnuchin indicated that the investigation of the FBI into the Relativity Media might be among this background check. This is not the scenario, but the response given by the FBI is not referred to as an “investigative file” but an investigative file with the main purpose of law enforcement indicating that a law enforcement hearing is still pending. This language or exemption would not be referenced for a background check that would be categorized under the b (1) or b(6) instead of a b (7)A. This is not the outcome of the background check, it is backed up on the basis that no information was presented to the Senate on this and not included in the background report presented by the FBI.
The idea that the investigation carried out by the FBI goes beyond just a background check supports the fact that no exemptions have been referenced for the file on RatPac-Dune Entertainment, another Mnuchin’s media agency. Alongside the exemption and language codes employed by the FBI indicates that the investigation is not among the regular background check and a reason that the FBI will consider one of his companies without the other does not exist.
Mnuchin stating that he has been informed that there is no reason to believe that the issue is related to him raises additional questions. When was Mnuchin initially aware of the investigation? Who did he inform about this? Did he hear this from someone in law enforcement, the FBI or his lawyers? Was there is any reason not to believe on the basis of ignorance (which implies that we are not informed of any ongoing investigation) which can result in a hollow agreement or dependent on a particular knowledge (i.e. We are fully aware of the investigation) which continues to be private?
If the latter is the case and Mnuchin (respectably and understandably) has made a decision to hide the details of the current investigation in a public forum, he should, therefore, be able to disclose this in a closed-door meeting with the Senate.