Trump inaugural committee boss: I'm not probe target

December 17, 2018 - 5:07 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of President Donald Trump's inaugural committee said Monday that he's been assured that he isn't the target of a criminal investigation, despite reports that prosecutors are probing the committee's finances.

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported last week that federal prosecutors in New York are examining whether foreign interests made secret, illegal contributions to the inaugural committee.

Inaugural committee chairman Tom Barrack confirmed Monday that special counsel Robert Mueller's office questioned him in 2017 about several topics.

But Barrack said his lawyer reached out to Mueller's office last week and was assured he was "not under investigation" and that Mueller's team has no additional questions.

"Information about questions asked about in 2017 does not mean that there is a 'new investigation,'" he said in a statement to The Associated Press.

"What it means is that the Special Counsel's staff was both professional and comprehensive back in 2017 when I sat for a voluntary interview," Barrack added. "They have shown themselves to be pretty tenacious when they find something they judge worth pursuing."

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that federal prosecutors in New York are investigating whether some of the inaugrual committee's donors made contributions in exchange for political favors and access to the Trump administration— a potential violation of corruption laws. The newspaper said the inquiry is focusing in part on whether the committee misspent some of the $107 million it raised to host events for Trump's inauguration.

The New York Times reported the same day 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. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to inaugural funds.

The inaugural committee released a statement Friday saying that it has not been contacted by prosecutors or asked to provide documents. It said committee finances were "fully audited," and the inauguration was "in full compliance with all applicable laws."

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