No, this is not about how he seems like a Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump robot imitator (remember the water bottle?) who they forget to charge sometimes (Pelosi/Schumer?).
For years (well, since January 20th 2017) TMC and I have sort of been privately discussing our belief that he should be as impeachable as Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump (I should program a macro) because of his undisputed participation in the Comey firing including being present when Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump told Rob Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions to make up some excuse to fire him (you know, to disguise the fact that he wanted to Obstruct Justice in the Russia Investigation, or at least that’s what Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump told Lester Holt on camera).
So yesterday we find out that much of the $107 Million raised for the January 20th 2017 event (pathetic and dwarfed by the Women’s March the next day which was cheaper but to be fair we used the pristine Port-A-Potties and Bleachers) has simply gone missing or been siphoned into questionable expenditures.
Not only that but there is some evidence seized during the raid on Michael Cohen, including a tape recording, that the money was solicited by promising Political Favors.
Umm… that’s pretty much the definition of Bribery.
Chairman of the Committee? The Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump robot imitator who they forget to charge sometimes Mike Pence. Head of Funding? Rick Gates who flipped on Unindicted Co-conspirator Trump months ago.
How do you feel about President Pelosi?
Trump Inauguration Spending Under Criminal Investigation by Federal Prosecutors
By Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Aruna Viswanatha, Wall Street Journal
Dec. 13, 2018
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said.
The criminal probe by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is in its early stages, also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions, some of the people said.
Giving money in exchange for political favors could run afoul of federal corruption laws. Diverting funds from the organization, which was registered as a nonprofit, could also violate federal law.
The investigation represents another potential legal threat to people who are or were in Mr. Trump’s orbit. Their business dealings and activities during and since the campaign have led to a number of indictments and guilty pleas. Many of the president’s biggest campaign backers were involved in the inaugural fund.
The investigation partly arises out of materials seized in the federal probe of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s business dealings, according to people familiar with the matter.
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. In the recording, Ms. Wolkoff expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending money, according to a person familiar with the Cohen investigation.
The inaugural committee has publicly identified vendors accounting for $61 million of the $103 million it spent, and it hasn’t provided details on those expenses, according to tax filings. As a nonprofit organization, the fund is only required to make public its top five vendors.
The committee raised more than double what former President Barack Obama’s first inaugural fund reported raising in 2009, the previous record. President Trump’s funds came largely from wealthy donors and corporations who gave $1 million or more—including casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, AT&T Inc. and Boeing Co. , according to Federal Election Commission filings. There is no sign that those three donors are under investigation.
Federal prosecutors have asked Richard Gates, a former campaign aide who served as the inaugural committee’s deputy chairman, about the fund’s spending and its donors, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Gates has met with prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
Mr. Gates, who served as deputy in the inaugural fund, in February pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the U.S. involving foreign political consulting work unrelated to the campaign. The case was brought by Mr. Mueller’s office. Mr. Gates agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department in ongoing investigations.
Mr. Mueller has also probed whether any foreign money flowed to the inaugural fund, which is prohibited from accepting foreign funds. In August, the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, on a referral from Mr. Mueller, obtained a guilty plea from a Washington consultant who admitted he used a U.S. citizen to serve as a “straw purchaser” so that a “prominent Ukraine oligarch” could attend the inauguration. The names were never disclosed.
Manhattan federal prosecutors in recent months asked Tennessee developer Franklin L. Haney for documents related to a $1 million donation he made to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee in December 2016, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Haney in early April hired Mr. Cohen, at the time serving as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, to help obtain a $5 billion loan from the Energy Department for a nuclear-power project, the Journal has previously reported. Mr. Haney was asked for documents related to his correspondence with members of the committee, meeting calendars and paperwork for the donation, the person said. A loan application by Mr. Haney’s company is still pending at the Energy Department.
According to the inaugural fund’s tax filings, the committee’s top-paid vendor was an event-production firm led by Ms. Wolkoff called WIS Media Partners. The company, which California corporate records show was formed 45 days before the inauguration, was paid $25.8 million, the largest sum paid to a vendor.
Ms. Wolkoff is a former unpaid adviser to Mrs. Trump who also helped produce events surrounding the inauguration. Ms. Wolkoff and several partners were paid about $1.6 million of the $25.8 million, and the remainder went to subcontractors, a person familiar with Ms. Wolkoff’s work said.
It couldn’t be determined which expenses are the focus of scrutiny by federal prosecutors. The committee said in its tax documents that it spent $77 million on conferences, conventions and meetings, plus $4 million on ticketing, $9 million on travel, $4.5 million on salaries and wages, and other expenses. Mr. Barrack has said that an external audit was completed of the inaugural committee’s finances, but the organization has declined to make that audit available.
People involved in Mr. Trump’s inaugural have attributed some of the costs to the last-minute nature of the planning. Few expected Mr. Trump to win the 2016 election, leaving his camp scrambling to arrange events for the inaugural, with little time to bid for competitive contracts, they said.
What does that mean?
Trump Inaugural Fund and Super PAC Said to Be Scrutinized for Illegal Foreign Donations
By Sharon LaFraniere, Maggie Haberman and Adam Goldman, The New York Times
Dec. 13, 2018
Federal prosecutors are examining whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to President Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC in hopes of buying influence over American policy, according to people familiar with the inquiry.
The inquiry focuses on whether people from Middle Eastern nations — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds.
The line of questioning underscores the growing scope of criminal inquiries that pose a threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is focusing on whether anyone in the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to tip the 2016 presidential election in Mr. Trump’s favor, while prosecutors in New York are pursuing evidence he secretly authorized illegal payments of hush money to silence accusations of extramarital affairs that threatened his campaign.
The inquiry into potential foreign donations to the inaugural fund and the super PAC is yet another front being pursued by multiple teams of prosecutors. Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a billionaire financier and one of Mr. Trump’s closest friends, raised money for both funds.
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.
In an interview with investigators a year ago, Mr. Barrack said that Mr. Manafort seemed to view the political committee as an arm of the campaign, despite laws meant to prevent such coordination, according to a person familiar with the interview.
According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, the committee raised $23 million, making it one of the most important sources of funds for advertisements, polls and other political expenditures on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Most money came from several big donors, including from Linda McMahon, a professional wrestling executive who donated $6 million and was later appointed by Mr. Trump to head the Small Business Administration.
Prosecutors from New York and from Mr. Mueller’s team have asked witnesses whether anyone from Qatar or other Middle Eastern countries also contributed money, perhaps using American intermediaries. Among other issues, they asked about a Mediterranean cruise that Mr. Barrack and Mr. Manafort took after Mr. Manafort was fired in August 2016 from the Trump campaign because of a scandal over his previous work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Mr. Manafort was in serious financial trouble at the time, and Mr. Barrack, who has an extensive business network in the Persian Gulf, may have been attempting to help him find clients.
On the cruise, the pair met one of the world’s richest men, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar. Until 2013, Mr. Al Thani presided over the country’s $230 billion sovereign wealth fund. He remains a highly influential member of the nation’s governing royal family.
Investigators also sought information from a businessman, Rashid Al Malik, an associate of Mr. Barrack’s who heads a private investment firm in the United Arab Emirates, according to a person familiar with the inquiry. Mr. Malik, whose lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has been described as close to a key figure in the U.A.E.’s government.
After Mr. Trump was elected, any troubles he had finding donors appeared to have vanished. His inaugural fund raised $107 million — four times as much as the pro-Trump political action committee and twice as much as the amount raised for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. Mr. Barrack was its chairman, and Rick Gates, a longtime business associate of Mr. Manafort’s who served as deputy campaign chairman, ran it.
The inquiry into the inaugural fund appears to involve prosecutors from United States attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn, people familiar with the investigation said. The fund has long been a source of infighting among White House advisers and personal friends of Mr. Trump’s, who blamed each other for news reports about questionable expenditures.
The inaugural committee complied with all laws and “has not been contacted by any prosecutors,” said Mr. Blicksilver, who is also a spokesman for the fund. Its finances “were fully audited internally and independently,” and donors were fully vetted and disclosed to the Federal Election Commission, as required, he said.
In fact, though, the fund has already run into trouble related for both donations and expenditures. Mr. Gates, who is awaiting sentencing for crimes related to a financial fraud scheme he executed with Mr. Manafort, has testified that he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement from the fund. A later review of the inaugural expenses found no issue with his reimbursements, a person close to Mr. Gates said.
And this year, a well-known Republican lobbyist, Sam Patten, pleaded guilty to arranging for a Ukrainian oligarch and another foreigner to buy $50,000 worth of tickets to an inaugural event, using an American as a straw purchaser.
Investigators have also asked witnesses whether any foreigners also contributed illegally to the inaugural committee. Once Mr. Trump was elected, foreign governments were frantically trying to build connections to the incoming administration, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Although it hosts and heavily subsidizes an American military base, Qatar is constantly striving to counter the influence of its powerful neighbors, also allies of the United States.
Time to open up Mueller 2.0- The House of Saud.