President Trump’s former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, provided federal prosecutors with information on Franklin Haney, a real estate mogul who gave Trump’s inaugural committee $1 million, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The AP cited an unnamed person familiar with “what Cohen told the authorities.” The publication additionally reported that Haney’s donation “is being scrutinized by federal prosecutors in New York who are investigating the committee’s finances.”
Haney initially hired Cohen as a consultant in an effort to court potential investors, including Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, for a long-shot nuclear plant project. The Wall Street Journal reported in August last year that Haney had offered Cohen $10 million if he successfully secured funding, including a $5 billion Department of Energy loan, for the project.
The Department of Energy told the AP that the loan application was “business sensitive” and declined to comment further. Cohen reported to prison on May 6 to serve a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, campaign finance and false statements violations. His attorney, Lanny Davis, said as Cohen began his sentence: “Michael will continue to be accessible to Congress and to federal, state, and local law enforcement.”
Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee for records in February. The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter, reported at the time that prosecutors had also asked Haney for documents related to his donation.
Earlier this month, CNN reported that prosecutors were examining tens of thousands of documents handed over by the committee. Among other things, prosecutors are looking into potential foreign contributions made to the committee; political operative Sam Patten admitted, as part of a plea deal, to coordinating a straw purchase for inuauguration tickets on behalf of a Ukrainian oligarch.
In a profile in the Daily Memphian, Haney claimed that a year after donating the $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, Trump personally introduced Haney to Cohen and a “Qatari official” within a few weeks of each other.
“He (Trump) says, ‘I know you’re working on this nuclear plant. They (the Qataris) are going to invest $45 billion (in the U.S.) and they’ll loan money for nuclear plants,’” Haney said, as quoted by the Daily Memphian.