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Federal prosecutors in New York subpoena Trump's inaugural committee

Key Points
  • Federal prosecutors in New York issued a subpoena Monday seeking documents from Donald Trump's inaugural committee.
  • The move furthers a federal inquiry into a fund that has faced mounting scrutiny into how it raised and spent its money.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that prosecutors asked for "all documents" related to the committee's donors and vendors, as well as records relating to "benefits" donors received after making contributions.
Donald Trump Jr. (R) watches as his father Donald Trump (L) is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States standing with first lady Melania Trump (C) during inauguration ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

Federal prosecutors in New York issued a subpoena Monday seeking documents from Donald Trump's inaugural committee, furthering a federal inquiry into a fund that has faced mounting scrutiny into how it raised and spent its money.

Inaugural committee spokeswoman Kristin Celauro told The Associated Press that the committee had received the subpoena and was still reviewing it.

"It is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry," she said.

A second spokesman, Owen Blicksilver, declined to answer questions about which documents prosecutors requested. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, which issued the subpoena, declined to comment.

The investigation is the latest in a series of criminal inquiries into Trump's campaign and presidency. Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation. In a separate case in New York, prosecutors say Trump directed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women as a way to quash potential sex scandals during the campaign.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a copy of the subpoena, reported that prosecutors asked for "all documents" related to the committee's donors and vendors, as well as records relating to "benefits" donors received after making contributions.

The newspaper reported late last year that federal prosecutors are investigating whether committee donors made contributions in exchange for political favors— a potential violation of federal corruption laws. It said the inquiry also was focused on whether the inauguration misspent the $107 million it raised to stage events celebrating Trump's inauguration.

The subpoena also requested documents relating to donations "made by or on behalf of foreign nationals, including but not limited to any communications regarding or relating to the possibility of donations by foreign nationals," the Journal reported.

The New York Times reported late last year that federal prosecutors are examining whether anyone from Qatar, Saudi Arabia or other Middle Eastern countries made illegal payments to the committee and a pro-Trump super political action committee. Foreign contributions to inaugural funds and PACs are prohibited under federal law.

The head of the inaugural committee, Tom Barrack, confirmed to The Associated Press that he was questioned by Mueller in 2017. He told the AP he was not a target of the Mueller investigation.

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Politics

Trump will call for unity in the State of the Union, but he faces skepticism from all angles

Key Points
  • Skepticism will emanate from both sides of the aisle when Trump enters the House chamber for the prime-time Tuesday address to lawmakers and the nation. Democrats, emboldened after the midterm elections and the recent shutdown fight, see little evidence of a president willing to compromise.  
  • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders indicated the president would highlight what he sees as achievements and downplay discord.