If you’re having trouble tracking exactly what Trump-related investigations are under way, the easiest rule of thumb is that if Trump is at the center of it, it’s almost certainly drawing federal scrutiny. The Rachel Maddow Show’s Steve Benen has a helpful list:
Donald Trump is under investigation.
Trump’s business is under investigation.
Trump’s foundation is under investigation.
Trump’s campaign operation is under investigation.
Trump’s transition team is under investigation.
Trump’s inaugural committee is under investigation.
But the inquiries don’t stop with Trump-centered entities, they are also now extending to organizations that should supposedly have one-degree of separation from Trump. Take the pro-Trump Super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, initiated in the summer of 2016 by convicted felon and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and headed by billionaire Trump bestie Thomas Barrack, who also headed the inaugural committee that’s newly under investigation.
The question at hand regarding the Super PAC is whether foreign entities contributed to it in order to (say it with me now) gain influence with Trump! Shocker. Rebuilding America Now gave the Trump campaign a lifeline at the time because many traditional GOP donors had closed their wallets to Trump and he was too cheap to fund his own campaign even though he constantly bragged about doing so on the trail. The New York Times writes:
The inquiry focuses on whether people from Middle Eastern nations — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds. […]
In an interview with investigators a year ago, Mr. Barrack said that Mr. Manafort seemed to view the political committee as an arm of the campaign, despite laws meant to prevent such coordination, according to a person familiar with the interview.
So while many American donors blacklisted Trump’s campaign, foreigners may have stepped into the void to help create the beast that has now corrupted our government. Perhaps it wasn’t just Russia that worked to pervert and subvert the will of the American people.
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