Donald Trump has created an exhausting whirlwind of chaos around himself with his look-there-no-look-there-look-there strategy. He wears people down with his manic approach to running the country, primarily from his private White House quarters. Yet, people have not given up their will to view him through a truth-telling lens, especially the federal prosecutors.
New York federal prosecutors have started culling through “tens of thousands” of materials connected to the Trump inauguration, which appeared to have an unusually large group of Russians in attendance. Investigators were particularly interested in the Inaugural committee’s disappearing millions of dollars.
The nonprofit committee complied and turned the documents over to the officials during a period of “several weeks,” according to CNN. The Southern District of New York’s (SDNY) federal prosecutors sent out subpoenas looking for:
‘…documents, records, communications concerning the inaugural’s finances, vendors, and donors.’
Now that the SDNY prosecutors have collected the materials and are scouring it, the next stage of the investigation will check to see how the $107 million of inaugural donations were either spent or misspent. The amount far exceeds President Barack Obama’s inaugurations, and 44 had much more popular entertainment with a higher performing cost.
The prosecutors also wanted to know if the committee funneled the millions improperly to specific individuals. They are also curious about whether there were any foreign donors. It has always been illegal for candidates to accept monies from people from outside the U.S.
Owner of an investment firm, Avenue Ventures LLC, Imaad Zuberi is a venture capitalist located in Los Angeles. Typically, he was a Democrat donor, but this time his company donated $900,000 to the Inaugural fund. That earned him entrance to two dinners.
Yet, Zuberi was not alone. Another 47 people and corporations donate larger amounts.
This investigation into the campaign falls under the umbrella of the ‘Trump businesses and campaign-related” efforts. Although Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation, the SDNY continued its investigations. Their prosecutors wondered whether foreign entities were currently trying to impact the 2020 presidential campaign.
Owner of the WIS Media company and friend of Melania Trump, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, earned $25.8 million as an event planner handling the Inauguration. Wolkoff also planned the “Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala, known as the Met Gala.”
The SDNY investigation was a spin-off of the Mueller investigation. Trump’s personal attorney and self-described “fixer” Michael Cohen had a recording in his possession when Mueller raided his office, homes, and safety-deposit box where Cohen spoke to Wolkoff and recorded their conversation.
Wolkoff was worried “about how the committee was spending money.” A federal grand jury located in Manhattan, New York subpoenaed her in October. She also met with the prosecutors.
Trump’s good friend Tom Barrack chaired the Inaugural committee. In February, SDNY prosecutors subpoenaed his “documents and communications it had related to any ‘benefits’ offered to donors.” That also included small group receptions, tickets, and “photo opportunities.”
In a potential violation of the Emoluments Clause, the inauguration spent $1.5 million at the Trump International Hotel located just down the street from the White House. Wolkoff was alarmed at the rates the hotel was charging for the event.
Thus far, the investigation has not taken the prosecutors to the top inaugural donors or to the Trump Organization. Deputy Chairman of the Inaugural committee, Rick Gates, spoke long hours to prosecutors during the Mueller investigation.
Last year, Gates was convicted of conspiracy and lying to Mueller’s investigators. Even though he has worked with Mueller extensively, he will keep on working with the Department of Justice (DOJ). He has to help with federal investigations, because that was part of his plea agreement.
Gates has been a popular guy. New Jersey and Washington, D.C. state attorneys have also sent him subpoenas for records in his possession.