Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks to House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff ahead of the State of the Union. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Congressional Democrats' war with President Trump is about to get personal.

What's happening: House Democrats, led by Chairman Adam Schiff's House Intelligence Committee, are about to begin investigating Trump's family business. The Democrats are hiring staff with deep expertise at tracing cash flowing through complicated property transactions. 

  • Why it matters: Democrats are marching across the red line Trump drew for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, laid down the marker to Axios last night after the committee deliberated behind closed doors earlier in the day.

  • "We are going to take an MRI to any Russian financing that the Trump Organization and the president may have had," Swalwell said.
  • "But we are not going to be so naive to assume that he's faithful to the Russians. There may have been other countries who have tried to financially influence him."

Between the lines: Of particular interest to the committee is an extraordinary series of cash purchases Trump made in the decade before his presidential campaign.

  • The Washington Post revealed, in May: "Trump’s company spent more than $400 million in cash on new properties — including 14 transactions paid for in full, without borrowing from banks — during a buying binge that defied real estate industry practices and Trump’s own history as the self-described 'King of Debt.'"
  • Eric Trump told the Post, then, that the Trump Organization made the purchases like that because Trump "had incredible cash flow and built incredible wealth ... He didn’t need to think about borrowing for every transaction. We invested in ourselves."
  • The Post offered no evidence of money laundering, but Democrats plan to investigate where the money came from to make these purchases.

Swalwell told Axios: "Without knowing whether Mueller is investigating money laundering through the Trump Organization, we do have the ability to look at whether that has occurred or is ongoing, and we are going to fulfill that responsibility."

Go deeper ... Democratic hit list: At least 85 Trump investigation targets

Go deeper

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.
2 hours ago - World

China embraces hostage diplomacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government is threatening to detain foreign citizens unless their home governments do what Beijing demands. In some cases, China has already made good on those threats.

The big picture: This marks a potential evolution of China's "wolf warrior diplomacy" to outright rogue state behavior, putting it in the company of countries like North Korea and Iran, which have also engaged in hostage diplomacy.

Justice Department sues Google over alleged search monopoly

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Justice Department and 11 states Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize the online search and search advertising markets.

Why it matters: The long-awaited suit is Washington's first major blow against the tech giants that many on both the right and left argue have grown too large and powerful. Still, this is just step one in what could be a lengthy and messy court battle.