Prosecutors probing Trump inauguration spending: report

Source: The Hill | December 13, 2018 | Brett Samuels

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking into whether President Trump’s inaugural committee misspent funds or accepted donations in exchange for access to the administration, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The Journal reported that many of the president’s biggest campaign supporters were contributors to his inaugural fund. Donating in exchange for political favors or using funds for purposes other than the inauguration could violate federal laws.

The news outlet, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the investigation is in its early stages, and stemmed from materials obtained during an FBI raid earlier this year of longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Investigators in those raids reportedly obtained a recorded conversation between Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to first lady Melania Trump who worked on the inauguration. 

Wolkoff is heard expressing concern about how the committee was spending money, the Journal reported, but the news outlet could not determine when the conversation took place.

A lawyer close to the matter told the Journal that the inaugural committee, which is registered as a nonprofit, has not been contacted by prosecutors.

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The Washington Post reported in January that the FBI expressed concerns about several Russians connected to the Kremlin who were in Washington, D.C., that weekend, and ABC News reported in June that special counsel Robert Mueller was looking into how several Russian oligarchs were given access to invitation-only parties.

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