Politics

Trump inauguration spending reportedly under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors

Key Points
  • Manhattan-based federal prosecutors are investigating whether some of the $107 million in donations to then President-elect Donald Trump's inaugural committee were misspent, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, says the investigation arose in part from the slew of materials seized in April raids on Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, by federal prosecutors.
  • The criminal probe is also looking into whether some of the committee's top spenders traded money for access to the incoming Trump administration, as well as "policy concessions or to influence official administration positions," sources tell the Journal.
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Trump Inauguration spending under criminal investigation

Manhattan-based federal prosecutors are investigating whether some of the $107 million in donations to then President-elect Donald Trump's inaugural committee were misspent, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said the investigation arose in part from the slew of materials seized in April raids on Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, by federal prosecutors. Cohen on Wednesday was sentenced to three years in prison on charges that came in part from those April raids on his office and residence.

The criminal probe is also looking into whether some of the committee's top spenders traded money for access to the incoming Trump administration, as well as "policy concessions or to influence official administration positions," sources told the Journal.

"Giving money in exchange for political favors could run afoul of federal corruption laws," the newspaper explained. "Diverting funds from the organization, which was registered as a nonprofit, could also violate federal law."

Federal prosecutors have reportedly also questioned Richard Gates — the ex-partner of onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — who pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and lying charges lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Gates, who has cooperated with investigators in Mueller's probe of Russian interference during the 2016 U.S. election, served as deputy chairman of Trump's inaugural committee.

The White House had no immediate comment on the report. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan declined CNBC's request for comment.

Read the full report from The Wall Street Journal.

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