This week ABC News released an exclusive report about Robert Mueller investigating foreign entities that made donations to Trump’s inauguration in January, 2017. This would represent even more legal trouble for the current administration and would only add to the growing mountain of evidence linking them to foreign governments.
The report said “millions of dollars in donations to President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee last year” but those are from several countries. Saudia Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are just a few of those listed, but a Russian connection is being discussed as well. Trump’s close adviser Thomas Barrack and Andrew Intrater were both interviewed about the gifts including one that was $1 million.
Michael Avenatti’s disclosure of potential funding sources of Essenial Consultants LLC, which was formed by Michael Cohen, is just another pieces of the puzzle. The firm received a large sum of money from Columbus Nova, which has ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg is a close friend of Putin and a cousin of Intrater.
People who watched the inauguration might remember seeing these cousins at the event, which was questionable even then. Now, in light of these developments, it raises several more questions.
Of course, Citizens United has allowed the flow of unlimited money into politics by corporations, but foreign nationals are strictly prohibited from many activities.
One article posted by the FEC states the following is prohibited:
• Making any contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or making any expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement in connection with any federal, state or local election in the United States;
• Making any contribution or donation to any committee or organization of any national, state, district, or local political party (including donations to a party nonfederal account or office building account);
• Making any disbursement for an electioneering communication;
• Making any donation to a presidential inaugural committee.
That last point above makes the inaugural committee donations a potential disaster for Donald Trump, particularly if Renova or Vekselberg made those donations, or any of the other foreign nations.
The same ABC News reports shows contributions to the campaign of Trump, the Trump Victory Fund, which would also be a violation under United States Code. Robert Mueller is almost certainly looking into these large contributions to determine if 52 U.S.C. Section 30121 has been violated.