Federal prosecutors subpoena Trump inaugural committee

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York on Monday subpoenaed President Donald Trump‘s inaugural committee for documents related to donors, vendors and finances, according to a copy of the subpoena reviewed by CNN, a step that appears to escalate that office’s ongoing investigation of the committee’s activity.

The wide-ranging subpoena from the Manhattan US attorney’s office requires the committee to turn over documents related to virtually every donor or donation, attendee at a committee event, piece of paperwork related to the legal requirements attached to donations and even “the possibility of” donations made by foreign nationals.

It discloses that prosecutors are investigating a litany of potential crimes: conspiracy against the US, false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, inaugural committee disclosure violations, and violations of laws prohibiting contributions by foreign nations and contributions in the name of another person, also known as straw donors.

It demands documents related to any “benefits” offered to donors, including “tickets, photo opportunities, and/or small group receptions.” It also requires the committee to turn over information about donations made directly to vendors, as well as communications discussing that possibility.

Federal prosecutors’ investigation into the committee involves possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations raised for Trump’s inauguration, CNN has reported. The prosecutor listed on the subpoena, Tom McKay, is a member of the office’s public-corruption unit and was one of the lead prosecutors on the office’s case against Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

The broad demand for documents suggests that Trump and entities connected to him may face continued scrutiny by federal prosecutors, particularly in New York, even if special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe winds down. ABC News first reported that the US attorney’s office was prepared to issue a subpoena to the committee.

A spokesperson for the committee said Monday: “We have just received a subpoena for documents. While we are still reviewing the subpoena, it is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry.”

A spokesperson for the Manhattan US attorney’s office declined to comment.

Tom Barrack, the inaugural committee’s chairman, also declined to comment. Barrack isn’t 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.

The subpoena lists only two specific names: Imaad Zuberi and his investment firm, Avenue Ventures LLC. The subpoena asks for documents related to Zuberi but doesn’t offer any clues as to why his donations may be of interest. Avenue Ventures donated $900,000 to the inaugural fund, Federal Election Commission records show.

“Imaad knows nothing about a subpoena, other than what’s been written,” Steve Rabinowitz, a spokesman for Zuberi, said Tuesday. “It’s well known that after supporting President Obama and Hillary Clinton, that Imaad gave generously and directly to the Trump inaugural. But many others gave considerably more. For what it’s worth, Imaad, as always, gave only his own money from his own resources. If, in fact, he is named in this subpoena — nevermind somehow named alone — he is bewildered why.”

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