U.S. banker tied to Russia sought access to Trump transition team: report

U.S. banker tied to Russia sought access to Trump transition team: report

An American businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle reportedly sought to meet with top officials on President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE's transition team in late 2016.

ABC News reports that Robert Foresman, a banker who lived in Moscow for years and has been advertised by his company as someone with connections to Putin's closest advisers, sought a meeting with Tom Barrack, the chairman of Trump's inauguration fund.

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Foresman never met with Barrack, according to the report, and later sought access to Trump's transition team a second time through a meeting with Michael Flynn, who would end up becoming Trump's first national security adviser.

During the attempts to meet with the transition team, the businessman's Russian connections remained active. In December of 2016, ABC reports that Foresman met with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, Sergei Gorkov, in New York months after Gorkov was appointed to the bank's helm by Putin himself.

It isn't clear what goal Foresman had in meeting with members of the president's transition team, and he declined to comment to ABC News. However, his presence and proximity to the Trump team have caught the eye of both investigators in the Southern District of New York and in Congress, ABC reports.

A letter from Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinKids confront Feinstein over Green New Deal Feinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape MORE (D-Calif.) on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee to Foresman last year stated that the panel had “reason to believe that you sought to engage the Trump campaign in discussions concerning outreach from senior Kremlin officials.”

It's unknown how Foresman responded to that letter, and a spokesman for the committee declined to comment to ABC.

Emails related to the Trump transition effort were obtained by the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russia's election interference late in 2017, though it's unclear if Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's team has shown recent interest in Foresman's activities.

Trump has repeatedly denounced the investigation into his campaign and transition team as a "witch hunt" while attacking the credibility of Mueller and his investigators.