This past week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation into Trump’s longtime attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen, who just yesterday was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
The fact that Cohen will only serve 3 years basically proves that he gave up more information than Trump will probably like, and now it looks like several additional investigations have started based on the attorney’s testimony.
News of one such investigation broke today when the Wall Street Journal reported that during a raid on Michael Cohen’s offices last spring, a recording of a conversation between Cohen and Stephanie Wolkoff, a former adviser to Melania Trump, was seized. According to sources close to the investigation, in that recording, Wolkoff was heard telling Cohen that she was concerned about the way the inaugural committee was spending money. Because of that evidence, and likely more that we haven’t heard about yet, Trump’s inaugural committee is now under criminal investigation for the possible misuse of funds involving over $100 million in donations raised for the inauguration.
Citing sources familiar with the investigation, which is being conducted by the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, the WSJ also reported that investigators are looking into whether or not some of the donations for the inauguration were given in order to gain political favor from the “president.” Because the inaugural committee is a non-profit, any funds given in exchange for political favors would be illegal and a federal crime, as is any misuse of funds donated.
When contacted by the WSJ, the committee of course vehemently denied any wrong-doing and denied knowing about any investigations. In a statement they released, the committee said:
‘The (committee) is not aware of any pending investigations and has not been contacted by any prosecutors. We simply have no evidence the investigation exists. The (committee’s) finances were fully audited internally and independently and are fully accounted. Moreover, the inauguration’s accounting was provided both to the Federal Election Commission and the IRS in compliance with all laws and regulations. These were funds raised from private individuals and were then spent in accordance with the law and the expectations of the donors. The names of donors were provided to the FEC and have been public for nearly two years and those donors were vetted in accordance with the law and no improprieties have been found regardng the vetting of those donors.’
‘That doesn’t have anything to do with the President or the first lady. The biggest thing the President did, his engagement in the inauguration, was to come here and raise his hand and take the oath of office. The President was focused on the transition at that time and not on any of the planning for the inauguration.’