Two individuals familiar with the relationship told The Daily Beast that Cohen met Imaad Zuberi, a venture capitalist and a major Obama donor, in 2016 several times throughout the year and into 2017. Those sources said Zuberi initially spoke with Cohen about attending Trump's inauguration in January 2017 and inquired about access to high-level events. Zuberi was told that he would need to pay upward of $1 million to attend the events, where he would rub shoulders with senior administration officials including President-elect Trump himself.

Zuberi donated more than $900,000 to the inaugural committee and corresponded with Cohen directly about that donation, according to sources with first-hand knowledge of those conversations.

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