Trump adviser Tom Barrack arrested on foreign-agent charges

Prosecutors say Barrack used his insider access to White House officials that he gained through roles like his position as chair of Trump’s inaugural committee to give the UAE “non-public information about the views and reactions of senior U.S. government officials following a White House meeting between senior U.S. officials and senior UAE officials.”

Also charged in the case were an aide to Barrack at his investment firm Colony Capital, Matthew Grimes, and a businessman from UAE, Rashid Al-Malik.

Prosecutors allege that early in the Trump administration, Barrack sought to be appointed to a high-profile role in Middle East policy, while telling his allies in UAE that such an appointment would be good for them.

“In his communications with Al Malik, the defendant framed his efforts to obtain an official position within the Administration as one that would enable him to further advance the interests of the UAE, rather than the interests of the United States,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

While the indictment gives numerous examples of Barrack working closely with Al-Malik to advance UAE interests, it is vague about Barrack’s motivation for doing so. However, the indictment suggests that Barrack's public relations and lobbying efforts for UAE were intertwined with his financial and investment interests. Prosecutors contend that in December 2016, Grimes sent Al-Malik a proposal that said implementing the plan could “achieve outsized financial returns.”

In addition, the three men charged in the case were working at the time on efforts to help a UAE ally, Saudi Arabia, acquire nuclear power technology from the U.S. That project, which became the focus of a House Oversight Committee investigation, included an effort to use UAE and Saudi funds, along with U.S. investments to take over the U.S.-based energy firm Westinghouse. The House probe found that Al-Malik was acting both on behalf of UAE and Saudi officials.

Prosecutors contend that in May 2016, Barrack shared with the UAE what he called a “totally confidential” draft of a Trump speech on energy and that Al-Malik later attended the inauguration festivities as a “personal guest” of Barrack.

The indictment alleges that Barrack and Grimes obtained a “dedicated cellular phone” for their communications with top UAE officials and installed a secure messaging application on it for that purpose.

Prosecutors also allege Grimes agreed to remove a reference to “dictatorships” in a Barrack op-ed at the UAE officials' request. “They didn't like Dictatorships word….They don't want to be labeled as dictators, which is true,” Al-Malik told Grimes.

The op-ed referenced in the indictment appears to be one Fortune Magazine published on Oct. 22, 2016 that denigrated the Arab Spring movement while praising Saudi Arabia, a close ally of UAE. Barrack's language tracks with what Grimes agreed to.

“The instability created by contradictory Western interests has invited far worse atrocities by the new regimes than the crimes perpetrated by the previous order,” Barrack wrote.

#Trump #adviser #Tom #Barrack #arrested #foreignagent #charges

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *