Robert Mueller is reportedly bringing an IRS financial crimes unit into the Russia investigation

Robert Mueller, the FBI's special counsel in charge of the investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, is now teaming up with a specialized financial crimes unit within the IRS, The Daily Beast reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the development.

The IRS' Criminal Investigations unit is joining Mueller as the Russia probe focuses more closely on potential financial crimes possibly involving people within the Trump campaign. It was not immediately clear how many of the unit's 2,500 agents would take part in Mueller's investigation.

RELATED: Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective

Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
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Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.

Martin Sheil, a retired former agent of the unit, told The Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff that the unit's involvement is a sign Mueller is invested in beefing up a specific rank within his investigative team. Sheil told the publication that while the FBI has broad jurisdiction in counterintelligence and counterterror, "they simply don’t have the financial investigative expertise that the CI agents have."

"When CI brings a case to a U.S. Attorney, it is done. It’s wrapped up with a ribbon and a bow. It’s just comprehensive," Sheil told Woodruff.

The unit's agents have expertise in matters like tax evasion and money laundering and the partnership follows a developing trend within the broader Trump-Russia inquiry, which has also seen a closer focus on key players like former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who resigned from the campaign in August 2016 amid scrutiny over millions of dollars in undisclosed payments for work he performed on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

FBI agents raided one of Manafort's homes in Alexandria, Virginia, last month.

Mueller also recently partnered with the New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with a focus on Manafort's financial transactions.

The question of President Donald Trump's personal federal tax returns also comes back into focus with the IRS' reported cooperation with Mueller's team. Trump first delayed publishing his returns during the 2016 election, and later refused to reveal them at all, breaking a decades-long tradition in presidential politics and drawing closer scrutiny of his personal financial profile.

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