Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, is now investigating the millions of dollars donated to Donald Trump’s inaugural committee last year, according to ABC News. Several witnesses have been interviewed, including Trump’s longtime friend and business associate Thomas Barrack who served as the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
The funds raised for the relatively unenthusiastic Inauguration was record-breaking.
The billionaire runs a fund with hundreds of millions in real estate and private equity holdings in the Middle East. Barrack oversaw the largest inaugural fundraising effort in U.S. history, bringing in $107 million – more than double what President Barack Obama raised for his first swearing-in festivities.
“According to a source who has sat with the Mueller team for interviews in recent weeks, the special counsel is examining donors who have either business or personal connections in Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar,” ABC reports. “Several donors with those ties contributed large sums to the non-profit fundraising entity – gifts that topped out at $1 million dollars, according to public records.”
Special counsel investigators have also asked witnesses about specific inauguration donors, including American businessmen Leonard Blavatnik, who has extensive business ties in Russia. FEC records show that he gave $1 million to the inaugural fund through his company, Access Industries.
Another witness is Andrew Intrater, who is an American relative and business associate of Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. He donated $250,000 to the Trump inauguration committee in early January 2017. Also last year, Intrater made two more donations to the Trump orbit including a $35,000 to Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee for the Trump campaign and Republican party. Then he donated a separate $29,600 donation directly to the Republican National Committee.
Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, is still a high profile member of the Republican National Committee’s fundraising operation even after his home, office, and hotel room were raided by the FBI. Pay-for-Play schemes have been inundating the news, with Cohen selling access to the White House.
Trump’s inauguration committee raised a record-breaking $107 million over a year ago and to this day millions of dollars from his leftover inauguration funds have still not been donated to the charities they were promised to.
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