Federal Prosecutors Subpoena Trump Inaugural Committee


Trump's inaugural fund raised $107 million, the most of any in history, and critics have suggested that individuals who contributed to the fund may have received special access to the president or other potentially illegal benefits. Federal investigators are reportedly looking into whether the committee took contributions from foreign nationals, which is prohibited under federal law.

The Boston Globe reported at the time that for GOP donors who had sat out the race, predicting a Trump loss, giving money to the inaugural committee doubled as a way of currying favor.

The request for documents, which was first reported by ABC News, is a sign of another widening legal headache for Trump, whose business, personal charitable foundation and campaign are under investigation by state and federal authorities.

The subpoena also specifically seeks all communications with one donor, Los Angeles venture capitalist Imaad Zuberi, as well as the firm with which he is affiliated, Avenue Ventures.

Tom Barrack, the inaugural committee's chairman, also declined to comment. The subpoena asks for documents related to Zuberi but doesn't offer any clues as to why his donations may be of interest.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan US attorney's office declined to comment. Federal prosecutors in NY have issued a subpoena seeking documents from Trump's inaugural committee.

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The subpoena, first reported by ABC, represents an escalation of the investigation, headed by the public corruption unit of the Manhattan US attorney's office.

Rick Gates, who served as Barrack's deputy on the inaugural committee, has been cooperating with federal prosecutors examining Russian interference in the 2016 election. No one who worked for the committee, or donated to it, has been accused of wrongdoing, and a subpoena is an initial step in the inquiry. Gates has pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and has cooperated with Mueller's team for almost a year.

"The best case for the inaugural committee is they got all kinds of information and now want to see if there is evidence to substantiate anything", Mr. Coffey said. Last year, Cohen pleaded guilty to various crimes, including tax evasion and lying to Congress, and will begin a prison sentence in March.

Late past year, when reports of the inaugural committee probe first surfaced, Trump's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters that it didn't involve the president.

The inaugural committee faced allegations of misspending and cost overruns since the summer of 2017. The payments yielded a $1.6 million commission for her company.