russia investigation

Federal Prosecutors Subpoena Trump Inaugural Committee

The party, and the investigations, never end. Photo: KEVIN DIETSCH/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Trump Inaugural Committee is already a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and on Monday federal prosecutors in New York escalated their own investigation into the committee’s activities in the festive days running up to Donald Trump’s inauguration. On Monday, federal prosecutors from New York’s Southern District subpoenaed the committee, demanding documents about its donors, vendors, and finances.

The subpoena requires that the committee submit “documents related to all of the committee’s donors and guests; any benefits handed out, including tickets and photo opportunities with the president; federal disclosure filings; vendors; contracts; and more,” the New York Times reports. The documents indicate that prosecutors are looking into seven potential crimes, according to CNN, including conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, wire fraud, mail fraud, inaugural committee disclosure violations, and two types of straw donor violations.

The inauguration committee chairman was Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the Trump ally who suggested Paul Manafort as a candidate for campaign manager. A longtime friend of the president, he has already been interviewed by Robert Mueller in regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and his dealings with the now-incarcerated Manafort. The billionaire-led committee raised an astonishing $107 million for the inauguration, more than twice the amount raised by any previous group, and much more than was needed for the effort. According to ABC News, the committee spent lavishly on less-than-necessary items: $130,000 for custom seat cushions for Trump, $10,000 for makeup for waiters, and $2.7 million to fly in dancers from Las Vegas to do a rendition of Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”

In April 2018, reports emerged that the special counsel is looking at the inaugural committee, to determine if Russian oligarchs illegally funneled money into the group. Mueller was reportedly drawn to the committee because of all the oligarch-class Russians running around the inauguration and its subsequent events. But it appears Southern District prosecutors had a different tip-off: a recording of Michael Cohen speaking to an inauguration contractor, discovered in the April 2018 raid of his office. No wonder the president is so mean to him online.

Federal Prosecutors Subpoena Trump Inaugural Committee