Trump Ally Tom Barrack Charged With Secretly Working For UAE
Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of former President Donald Trump and chairman of Trump's Inaugural Committee, secretly worked for the United Arab Emirates government for more than a year to help shape Trump's campaign and presidency, according to a Justice Department indictment released Tuesday.
Prosecutors say Barrack and two partners - a US official named Matthew Grimes and an Emirati liaison named Rashid al-Malik Alshahhi - illegally influenced US policy on behalf of a foreign power. Representatives of international governments are required by law to explain this relationship. Federal agents have arrested Barrack and Grimes in California and are trying to transfer them to New York because they see them as a risk of escape; al-Malik is at large.
The indictment shows the often successful efforts of the United Arab Emirates, still a major US partner in the Middle East, to use Trump's arbitrary approach to foreign policy to advance its own ends against US interests. It also torpedoes the reputation of Barrack, a prominent real estate investor who has bolstered Trump among skeptics in the media and the business community.
Furthermore, it underscores the harrowing extent of wrongdoing in Trump's inner circle as his allies took over the most powerful posts in government: Barrack sought a high-profile position, and fellow campaigners Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn both worked in the White House and ended up facing the Confederation Fees too.
Also Trump's election campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his deputy Rick Gates, his lawyer Michael Cohen, his political advisor Roger Stone and his former fundraiser Elliott Broidy are legally at risk; all five were found guilty of various crimes.
A Barrack spokesman told the Washington Post that he would plead not guilty.
Most foreign officials were unprepared for Trump to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and were concerned about what his potential presidency would mean for America's role in the world. As the candidate neared his shock victory in April 2016, Barrack bragged to UAE officials about his ties to Trump, via text messages and emails quoted in the indictment. Barrack demonstrated his influence shortly thereafter by working with UAE officials to include a reference to American partners in the Persian Gulf - a group that includes the Emirates - in a Trump campaign speech on energy policy.
The businessman then repeatedly urged UAE officials to share topics of conversation that he could promote for them on television without revealing UAE affiliation, the indictment said. He also sought her contribution to a Fortune Op-ed in October, in which he removed an exact description of the regimes in the Persian Gulf as "dictatorships".
As Trump was preparing to take office, Barrack and Grimes worked with al-Malik on a plan to create a UAE-funded organization to advance the interests of the UAE and boost Trump-related industries to keep the foreign country tight to bind the new government. And in 2017, Barrack and the UAE repeatedly took advantage of Trump's dislike of traditional, formal policy-making aimed at prioritizing U.S. interests over personal or foreign concerns, prosecutors believe. Barrack updated the minutes for a visiting official from Saudi Arabia, the UAE's closest regional ally, and then asked the UAE to urge him to get a job as a special envoy - a move he suggested to us, "more power" for secure the golf regime.
In the fall and summer of 2017, Barrack supported the United Arab Emirates' efforts to isolate another US partner in its neighborhood, Qatar, and informed Emirati contacts that he was personally discussing the matter with Trump and the efforts of US officials including most foreign policy experts and career discouraged staff - to negotiate an end to the spitting.
Federal officials began investigating Barrack's activities as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election. Barrack lied repeatedly to the FBI in an interview dated June 20, 2019, according to the indictment.
The government's move against Barrack and his staff comes at a difficult time for the UAE.
Despite being rich and well-connected in Washington, the Emirati regime has received unprecedented criticism in recent years as lawmakers, activists and the media have emphasized its responsibility for human rights abuses.
The UAE is militarily intervening in Yemen - in a campaign that sparked the world's worst humanitarian crisis and destroyed millions of lives - and in Libya, and recent reports show they have aggressively persecuted reporters and critics overseas. The kingdom's close ties with Trump and support for policies such as its far-right plan for an Israeli-Palestinian peace also weakened its traditional ability to win bipartisan support.
President Joe Biden has promised to hold American friends like the Emirates accountable for excesses, and many top Democrats want him to keep that promise. But after reviewing a massive $ 23 billion arms package that Trump offered to the UAE, Biden agreed to the gun deal, HuffPost announced in April. The fight over the package continues - and new frustration with the UAE will not help it.
In the meantime, new revelations about the Trump team's overseas entanglements could fuel calls for Biden, more
This is a developing story. Please check again for updates.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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