Trump’s 2016 inaugural committee probed

The investigation marks the latest potential threat to Trump and people in his inner circle.US federal prosecutors are reportedly investigating the finances of President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee and whether foreigners contributed to its events using straw donors.
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The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that prosecutors in New York are investigating whether some of the committee’s donors made contributions in exchange for political favours and access to the Trump administration – a potential violation of federal corruption laws.

The inquiry, which the newspaper said is in its early stages, is also focused on whether the inauguration committee misspent some of the $US107 million ($A149 million) it raised to stage events celebrating Trump’s inauguration.

The New York Times reported that prosecutors are examining whether people from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries made illegal payments to the committee and a pro-Trump super political action committee in a bid to influence American policy. Foreign contributions to inaugural funds and PACs are prohibited under federal law.

Both newspapers cited anonymous sources familiar with the inquiry.

The US attorney’s office in Manhattan did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

The inaugural committee said it has not been contacted by federal prosecutors and is not aware of any investigations.

The investigation marks the latest potential threat to the president and people in his inner circle.

The Times and Wall Street Journal reported that it stemmed in part from materials the FBI seized earlier this year while probing the business dealings of Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer and personal lawyer.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison this week for tax evasion and campaign-finance violations.

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