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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

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.

52 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

52 mins ago - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.