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Criminal Investigation Underway Regarding Trump's Inauguration Spending

Criminal Investigation Underway Regarding Trump's Inauguration Spending

Federal prosecutors in NY are investigating whether US President Donald Trump's inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107m it raised from donors, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing people it said were familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the US attorney's office in Manhattan was in the early stages of the probe exploring whether big-money donors gave money to the committee in the hope of access to - or influence within - the administration or policy concessions.

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that the US Attorney's office in Manhattan is also investigating whether the committee accepted donations from individuals looking to gain influence in or access to the new administration.

"That doesn't have anything to do with the president or the first lady", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.

In April raids of Mr. Cohen's home, office and hotel room, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents obtained a recorded conversation between Mr. Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to Melania Trump, who worked on the inaugural events.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY is basing their investigation on materials seized during April raids on Trump's former longtime lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen.

Prosecutors asked Richard Gates, a former campaign aide who served as the inaugural committee's deputy chairman, about the fund's spending and its donors, the sources said.

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In a statement, Trump's inaugural committee said the celebration was "in full compliance with all applicable laws". "So now they're going to - I would say plan B, but this is more like plan D or E or F to take this President down". "According to several of the people familiar with the investigation, Paul Manafort, who then headed the campaign, suggested that Mr. Barrack step into the void by creating and raising funds for the political action committee, which could raise unlimited amounts of money as long as it avoided coordinating closely with the candidate".

The recording is now in the hands of federal prosecutors in Manhattan, a person familiar with the matter said.

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

Committee head Thomas Barrack Jr. has said that an external audit of the committee's finances was performed, according to the WSJ, but that audit has not been made available.

The mounting evidence places him increasingly at the center of campaign finance violations that have already led to prison time for Cohen.

Mueller is also probing whether any foreign cash flowed to the inaugural fund, which is prohibited from accepting foreign funds.