Mueller Reportedly Probing Illicit Donations to Trump Inaugural Event Related to Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE

Mueller is looking into whether Middle Eastern countries contributed money to Trump's events before he was sworn in, perhaps through U.S. donors

U.S. President Donald Trump talking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, November 29, 2018.
Evan Vucci,AP

WASHINGTON - Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining a January 2017 meeting that involved close advisers to U.S. President Donald Trump and officials from Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.

According to a report in The Daily Beast, Mueller’s team of investigators have been looking into this event, which took place at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C., days before Trump was sworn in as president. 

Mueller is examining a breakfast event organized as part of Trump's inaugural festivities, which took place on January 17th, 2017. Among those present were Trump's then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Congressman Devin Nunes, a California Republican who has been one of Trump's most outspoken defenders in the face of his legal ordeals.

Dozens of foreign diplomats were invited to the event, including some from Middle Eastern countries.

According to a Wall Street Journal report from 2018, this event caught the attention of authorities in New York who were investigating possible violations by Trump’s inaugural committee. Mueller’s team, however, is more interested in the possibility that foreign countries gave money, perhaps through U.S. donors, to Trump’s inaugural events, in order to curry favor with the administration and influence Trump’s policies.

The report states that “Country officials invited to the breakfast included Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Japan, Angola and others.“ None of the countries mentioned in this list are accused of any illegal activities at this point.

Over the past year, a number of reports in leading U.S. publications have said that Mueller’s team is examining interactions between Trump’s campaign and Middle Eastern countries. One particular angle that Mueller is reportedly investigating involves a senior adviser to the government of the UAE, who offered the Trump campaign a cyber campaign in collaboration with an Israel-based company. As part of the investigation, Mueller’s team visited Israel last year and confiscated computers and documents.