What Jumps Out From The Subpoena Of The Trump Inaugural Committee

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February 5, 2019 10:27 a.m.
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The federal investigation into President Trump’s inaugural committee took a significant leap forward Monday, with prosecutors issuing a wide-ranging subpoena to committee officials for documents about donors, vendors and finances.

A few key details stuck out from the New York Times article on the subpoena, which reported that investigators are pursuing inquiries into a wide range of possible crimes. It turns out that the probe is being carried out by prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, based in Brooklyn, as well as from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.

Investigators are particularly interested in political fundraiser Imaad Zuberi, who is the only individual mentioned by name in the subpoena, per the Times.

The newspaper first reported back in December that Brooklyn federal prosecutors were assisting with the inauguration probe. Per the Times’ latest report, the Brooklyn office is specifically helping look into whether inaugural officials helped foreigners illegally funnel donations to their committee using straw donors to conceal their identities.

The use of straw donors is just one of the potential crimes investigators are pursuing. Others, according to CNN and the Times, include conspiracy against the U.S., election fraud, false statements, money laundering and wire fraud.

No one involved with the committee has been accused of any wrongdoing. A committee spokesman confirmed the receipt of the subpoena to TPM and said “it is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry.”

The subpoena requests that the committee produce all communications with Zuberi, a Los Angeles venture capitalist who donated $900,000 to the inauguration through his firm, Avenue Ventures.

A Zuberi spokesman told TPM that the Los Angeles businessman first learned of the subpoena after being called by a reporter.

“Many others gave considerably more [than Zuberi,]” the spokesman said.

“For what it’s worth, Imaad, as always, gave only his own money from his own resources,” the spokesman told TPM. “If, in fact, he is named in this subpoena — never mind somehow named alone — he is bewildered why.”

In the weeks before the inauguration itself, Zuberi reportedly met with Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The two supposedly discussed the incoming administration’s infrastructure proposals.

The Zuberi spokesman confirmed that there were three conversations with Cohen, and added that they were all brief.

Prosecutors are also reportedly asking for documents related to Stripe, a credit card processing firm that includes Jared Kushner’s brother, Josh, as an investor. The subpoena does not name either Kushner, per the Times.

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