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THREAD: What should we make of today's news that Trump's inaugural committee was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in New York?
1/ Trump's inaugural committee is under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York for accepting illegal contributions from foreigners, among other things. Today they received a subpoena for documents about its donors, finances and activities. nytimes.com/2019/02/04/us/…
2/ This suggests that the investigation is still at a very early stage. The subpoena appears to be wide ranging, and it could take months for the inaugural committee to comply. I expect prosecutors to issue additional subpoenas to come, and to interview witnesses thereafter.
3/ According to @nytimes, the subpoena sought documents "regarding whether any foreigners illegally donated to the committee, as well as whether committee staff knew that such donations were illegal, asking for documents laying out legal requirements for donations."
4/ That last piece is important. While it is always illegal for foreigners to contribute to federal campaigns and for Americans to accept those contributions, it is only a *crime* if it is done with the knowledge that the foreign contributions were illegal.
5/ This indicates that there is some evidence of foreign contributions to the Trump inauguration and that federal prosecutors are working to build potential criminal charges against individuals who knowingly accepted those contributions.
6/ The @nytimes indicates that the subpoena sought documents related to "donors and event attendees; benefits handed out, including tickets and photo ops with Trump; federal disclosure filings; vendors; contracts; and more."
7/ It is less clear why prosecutors are seeking these documents. For instance, in and of itself, it is not a crime for an inaugural committee to provide benefits to donors. But it is clear that prosecutors are investigating whether any of the FEC disclosures were false.
8/ Federal Election Commission disclosures are signed under penalty of perjury. (The Trump inaugural committee's disclosures appear to have been signed by Doug Ammerman. See below.) docquery.fec.gov/pdf/286/201704…
9/ There are various other potential federal crimes that prosecutors could be investigating, including offering an official act as president (say, lifting sanctions) in exchange for something of value (like a campaign contribution). We don't know enough to say for sure.
10/ What is clear is that this investigation (and a related investigation by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn) is in the early stages. Regardless of what happens in the Mueller investigation, you can expect this investigation to continue for many months to come. /end
ADDENDUM: According to @jimsciutto, prosecutors are investigating conspiracy against the US, false statements, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, inaugural committee disclosure violations, & laws prohibiting contributions by foreign nations.
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