And as other prosecutors have dug into Barrack’s handling of the inauguration fund, Trump has privately soured on his mentor.
In July, the New York Times reported that the public integrity unit of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn was investigating whether Barrack violated laws requiring lobbyists to register when they work for foreign interests, though he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. In particular, the Times reported, prosecutors were probing whether the inauguration let foreigners from the Middle East use straw donors to donate to the inauguration.
Trump was surprised to learn elsewhere, according to a senior administration official, that the inaugural committee paid $26 million to the firm of Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a New York social planner who was previously close to First Lady Melania Trump and was a senior adviser to her in the White House until early last year. (Only $500,000 of that money went to Wolkoff herself, according to documents Vanity Fair reviewed earlier this year.)