News & Politics

Mueller Asking Witnesses About Millions of Dollars to Trump's Inauguration From Donors With Ties to Russia

The special counsel's team appears to be following the money.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has asked witnesses about millions of dollars with of donations made to President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Committee, ABC News reports. Mueller’s team is reportedly asking about donors with ties to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Real estate tycoon and longtime Trump confidant Tom Barrack, who was interviewed by the special counsel “months ago,” oversaw the committee’s fundraising effort—and doubled the amount of money Barack Obama brought in for his inauguration.

According to ABC News, investigators have asked witness directly about donors, including billionaire investor Leonard Blavatnik and Columbus Nova head Andrew Intrater.

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In 2015, Blavatnik, who holds dual U.S. and British citizenship, began pumping $6.35 million to GOP political action committees. According to the Center for Responsive Politics,”just as Trump was on the verge of securing the Republican nomination,” Blavatnik began donating to the Republican National Committee. He also donated tens of thousands of dollars to the RNC legal fund, which paid Trump’s legal bills in Mueller’s probe until November 2017.

Intrater donated $250,000 through Columbus Nova to Trump’s inaugural committee and attended the ceremony with his cousin, Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg is the Russian oligarch who was reportedly questioned by Mueller after his private plane landed at a New York airport. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Mueller was probing a $500,000 payment Vekselberg made to longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

CNBC News reporter Christina Wilkie compiled a list of major foreign-linked donors to Trump's inaugural committee. You can check that out here.

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Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.