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Trump inaugural committee documents are subpoenaed by federal prosecutors

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Pool via Getty Images FILEPresident Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Freedom Ball on Jan. 20 2017 in Washington

Federal prosecutors in NY on Monday delivered a sweeping request for documents related to donations and spending by President Donald Trump's inaugural committee, a sign of a deepening criminal investigation. Prosecutors are particularly interested in documents related to "a Los Angeles financier who gave $900,000 to the committee through his private-equity firm and once registered as a foreign agent working on behalf of the Sri Lankan government". People familiar with Mueller's investigation have said his prosecutors have explored the possibility that foreign money helped fund Trump's inaugural festivities. The inaugural committee brought in a record $107 million in donations and, somehow, spent almost all of it. President Obama's 2009 inaugural committee raised a then-record $55 million (Obama's 2013 committee raised $43 million). The committee was chaired by Trump's longtime friend Thomas Barrack, who the Times said is not mentioned in the subpoena.

"Whether it's the Trump Foundation, the Trump Organization, the Inaugural Committee, the campaign, or personal finances and taxes, that's what the Southern District of NY is looking at".

Special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe may be winding down - but Monday's news reveals that federal investigations are actually expanding to include other parts of the president's life.

Barrack did not respond to Tuesday's subpoena.

Former prosecutors say the wide-ranging subpoena is a sign that the investigation is in its infancy, which means it could drag through the 2020 election. In a separate case in NY, prosecutors say Trump directed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women as a way to quash potential sex scandals during the campaign.

CNN reported that prosecutors are seeking to determine whether foreign donors were offered any benefits in exchange for their contributions to the inaugural committee. The prosecutor listed on the subpoena, Tom McKay, is a member of the office's public-corruption unit and was one of the lead prosecutors on the office's case against Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The committee raised a record $107 million from donors.

The subpoena was issued by prosecutors from the USA attorney's office in the Southern District of NY, rather than special counsel Robert Mueller.

The deputy chairman, who managed the operation, was Rick Gates, who has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and false statements in the Mueller investigation in a cooperation deal.

Cohen is due to begin a prison sentence next month after pleading guilty past year to a range of crimes, including one campaign finance-related charge, in which he implicated the president. He told the AP he was not a target of the Mueller investigation.

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