U.S. Attorney in Manhattan launches criminal probe of Trump inaugural committee

U.S. Attorney in Manhattan launches criminal probe of Trump inaugural committee

Spokesman Owen Blicksilver told The Times that Barrack "has never talked with any foreign individual or entity for the purposes of raising money for or obtaining donations related to either the campaign, the inauguration or any such political activity".

Foreign nations are prohibited from contributing to federal campaigns, PACs and inaugural funds by law.

Although campaign finance laws restrict the size of campaign contributions, inaugurations can accept unlimited donations, including from corporations.

According to the daily, federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating the matter from the documents it recovered during raid at the office and residences of Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen.

The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

The inaugural committee was headed by another major conservative donor, the real estate developer Thomas Barrack.

Other major inauguration donors included casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave $5m, and investment firm founder Charles Schwab and mining investor Christopher Cline, who gave $1m each, according to FEC filings.

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The inquiry is not the first time prosecutors have scrutinized Trump's inauguration. The fund has always been a source of infighting among White House advisers and personal friends of Trump's, who have blamed one another for news reports about questionable expenditures.

ProPublica and the NY public radio station WNYC also reported new details Friday on how Trump profited from the inauguration, with the committee paying for rooms and event space at his Washington D.C. Hotel.

Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, is reported to have been questioned by Mueller's team about any possible attempts by the Emiratis to buy influence by directing money to Trump's campaign.

An audio recording, found in one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation raids of Cohen's office earlier this year, captured a conversation between the president's former "fixer" and former first lady advisor Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who reportedly seemed anxious about the committee's spending.

Ivanka Trump connected Rick Gates, who acted as the deputy to the chairman of President Trump's inaugural committee, to the manager of the hotel, who suggested a price of $175,000 per day for hiring the hotel's presidential ballroom. But another one is now sinking its teeth into his 2016 campaign and the finances of his inaugural committee, WSJ sources say. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Pauley III sentenced Cohen to three years in prison. An August guilty plea by political consultant and lobbyist Thomas Patten revealed that he laundered $57,000 via an unnamed "straw purchaser" in the USA so that an unnamed "prominent Ukraine oligarch" could get four tickets to the inauguration, according to Patten's Statement of the Offense.

"The (committee) is not aware of any pending investigations and has not been contacted by any prosecutors. This charge has nothing to do with the president of the United States, and it has nothing to do with this administration".

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