Federal prosecutors subpoena Trump inaugural committee, source says

Posted at 8:08 PM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 22:08:36-05

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York have subpoenaed the Trump inaugural committee for documents related to donors, vendors and finances, according to a source familiar with the outreach.

The wide-ranging subpoena from the Southern District of New York, reviewed by CNN, shows a request for documents related to donors and benefits offered in return. It asks for donations made by, and on behalf of, foreign nationals and communications related to the possibility of foreign nationals donations.

The subpoena also seeks committee memos and information regarding restrictions on donations “including but not limited to prohibitions on donations by foreign nationals or donations on behalf of a third party.”

Federal prosecutors also want information about donations made directly to vendors and communications discussing that possibility.

The subpoena, first reported by ABC News, suggests that beyond special counsel Robert Mueller there is continued scrutiny of people connected to President Donald Trump, though there is no indication the matter relates to Trump directly.

A spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

Tom Barrack, the inaugural committee’s chairman, also declined to comment. He is not named in the subpoena.

The investigation into the committee — which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal in December — involves possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations raised for Trump’s inauguration, sources familiar with the matter told CNN at the time.

One source familiar with the matter told CNN in December that the investigation was in its early stages, and that investigators were generally focused on whether any inauguration money had been misspent.

Citing conversations with people familiar with the investigation, the Journal reported that prosecutors are also looking into whether the committee accepted donations from individuals looking to gain influence in or access to the new administration.

The New York Times also reported in December that federal prosecutors were looking into whether foreign nationals had funneled potentially illegal donations to both the inaugural fund and a pro-Trump super PAC in efforts to buy “influence over American policy.”

The paper, citing people familiar with the inquiry, said it focuses on people from Middle Eastern countries — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — and whether they “used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds.”