President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the FBI to conduct an expanded investigation into whether his real estate company used fraudulent marketing techniques to lure students into enrolling in seminars and other services for which they had no knowledge.
The order followed an investigation that concluded that the business advertised itself as offering free, face-to-face education, and enrolled people who never attended.
The probe by special counsel Robert Mueller and a special counsel appointed by Trump also revealed that at least four of the people who received free tuition services from the business also were in regular contact with Trump in person.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump denied any wrongdoing, but said the investigation had uncovered “no wrongdoing.”
“No charges have been brought, no charges have ever been brought,” Trump said.
“They have all been debunked.
We’ll let it run its course, but it’s an open investigation.
They have no idea what I’m doing.
We have no interest in a witch hunt.”
Mueller’s office said in a statement that it was “conducting a full and fair investigation” and “will be revealing new information to the public soon.”
The FBI has been looking into claims that Trump University offered no more than “free” tuition to anyone.
The bureau launched an investigation in April 2016 after learning that a former student, Michelle Fields, had filed a lawsuit against the business, saying she had paid $3,500 in tuition and fees for seminars she never attended and had been defrauded by Trump University.
Trump has denied any knowledge of the lawsuit and said it was based on a fabricated story.
The lawsuit has since been settled out of court.
Trump’s attorney said he would continue to fight the lawsuit, saying Fields was the victim of “political attacks” and that she would have to pay back the money she received.
Trump and his family are part of a large legal and real estate empire that has been the subject of multiple lawsuits.
They also own several golf courses in New York City, as well as several hotels and other properties around the world.
The investigation was prompted by news reports in March that the president had been reimbursed by the Trump Organization for the cost of his trip to Scotland.
Trump also spent several days at a golf club owned by his daughter Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner also played a round at the club.
In February, Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, told the AP that Trump was not aware of the $3 million payment for his travel to Scotland and did not know it was being paid for by the White House.
Trump told The Associated Post in March he would not release any information about his finances until he learned the full amount of his expenses.
“I have to know the full details because I’m not a public figure,” Trump told the newspaper.
Trump Jr. also was paid $50,000 for a round of golf.
Trump released a statement saying he had received the money “at my own expense.”
“I’m pleased that the Office of Government Ethics has decided to allow me to continue my family’s charitable work in a more transparent manner,” Trump Jr., a senior adviser to the president, said in the statement.
“My focus is on helping families through this difficult time and I look forward to working with the Office to move this country forward.”
A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump said she had not received any payments from the Trump family.
In recent weeks, the Trump campaign has been hit by questions over its financial records.
The president has insisted that his foundation did not receive donations from foreign governments or foreign governments’ foreign entities.
Trump is under scrutiny over allegations of financial improprieties stemming from his now-defunct real estate ventures, including his failed casino business.
In August, The Washington Post published a report that showed that he paid $200,000 in taxes that year, including a $20,000 payment to the Internal Revenue Service for a failure to report more than $1.3 million in income from a business that he bought for $100 million.
He has denied the allegations.
In April, a judge ordered Trump to appear in court in New Jersey on a $5 million tax fraud charge.
He is still under investigation in the U.S. for his dealings with Russian oligarch and current President Vladimir Putin, who is a longtime friend of the president.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.