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Tom Barrack (L) greets President Trump at his 2017 inauguration. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A month after President Trump was sworn into office, the investment firm owned by the chair of his inaugural committee developed a plan to profit off its ties to members of the Trump administration and foreign officials "while avoiding any appearance of lobbying," according to a confidential memo obtained by ProPublica and WNYC.

The big picture: On Monday, federal prosecutors in New York ordered Trump’s inaugural committee to turn over documents relating to its donors, finances and event attendees.

  • Investigators are reportedly interested in whether foreign nationals funneled donations into the inaugural committee, which would be illegal.

Details: The memo outlined a "strategic plan" for Tom Barrack's company, Colony NorthStar, to use relationships with "key members of the Trump Administration" and foreign dignitaries to help attract investors for public-private infrastructure proposals.

  • No other group can “currently match the relationships or resources that we possess,” the memo read.
  • It was reportedly written by the inaugural committee's deputy chair Rick Gates, who has since been indicted and pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation.
  • A spokesman for the company told ProPublica and WNYC: “This memo was simply an outline of a proposed potential business plan which was never acted upon or implemented. Colony at no time has maintained a DC office."
  • However, Barrack, a longtime friend of the president with extensive international business ties, was "frequently present at meetings with government officials in the early months of the Trump administration," ProPublica and WNYC note.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also met with Colony executives at least three times in the four months after Trump's inauguration, according to watchdog group American Oversight.

Go deeper: Read the full ProPublica/WNYC report

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

2 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.