Marred by a streak of controversies over the last two years, the Presidency of Donald Trump has received yet another setback. According to the New York Times, Federal prosecutors are investigating foreign inflow of money into the President’s campaign fund and a Public Action Committee, aligned with Trump. These are serious allegations that suggest possible foreign influence over US State policy. However, unlike previous investigations that were centered around Russia, this probe focuses on disguised donations made using straw donors by affluent people in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The New York Times in its report, has alleged that an individual named Thomas Barrack Jr. acted as a financier to raise money for the pro-Trump, super PAC. The initiative was known as ‘Rebuilding America Now’ and it successfully raised $23 million, as per the Federal Election Commission filings.
Owen Blick silver, a spokesman for Barrack told the NYT: “Tom has never talked with any foreign individual or entity for the purposes of raising money for or obtaining donations related to either the campaign, the inauguration or any such political activity”.
As per sources with the New York Times, the super PAC initiative was floated by Paul Manafort himself, who as Trump’s campaign manager, raised vast amounts of money without coordination with the then Republican Presidential nominee. Manafort has been convicted of federal fraud on eight counts and has pleaded guilty to two additional charges in Washington. As part of the Mueller investigations, Manafort has agreed to cooperate with the authorities to establish a possible collusion between Trump and Moscow during the 2016 Presidential Elections.
Trump’s inaugural committee raised over $106 million which according to NYT, were managed by Richard Gates (who has pleaded guilty in Mueller’s investigation) and chaired by Thomas Barrack Jr. himself, who also led the super-PAC in a bid to raise massive funds for the campaign.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied any involvement by the President in the affairs of the inauguration committee, saying: “That doesn’t have anything to do with the President or the first lady.”
The long streak of legal dilemmas doesn’t seem to end for the President as five of his associates have already been implicated in charges of fraud and facilitating Russian investments into campaign funds. However, Trump vehemently denies any role and describes the actions of Federal Prosecutors as an attempt to malign his image. The question of Trump’s collusion with Moscow in his personal capacity still remains to be established.