Former President of Inaugural Fund Trump accused of illegally lobbying UAE President
The former president of Donald Trump’s inaugural fund has been accused of illegally lobbying the then president of the United Arab Emirates.
Thomas Barrack, 74, was arrested Tuesday morning in the Los Angeles area on federal charges relating to illegal lobbying by Trump on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
Barrack was ordered to act as an agent of the UAE under the direction of the country’s officials by influencing the foreign policy positions of the Trump campaign in 2016 and lying to the FBI, CNBC reported.
He was indicted in an indictment of seven counts in federal court in New York, according to the outlet.
Alongside Barrack, Matthew Grimes, Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi and Rashid Al-Malik are accused of acting and conspiring to act as agents.
Deputy Attorney General Mark Lesko of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice told CNBC: “The defendants have repeatedly taken advantage of Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was ultimately elected president , senior campaign and government officials, and the US media to political goals of a foreign government without revealing their true allegiances.
“The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing less than a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former president.”
Barrack was the founder of investment firm Colony Capital, but stepped down as CEO in 2020.
In addition to working for the former president when he was in power in 2017, Barrack is a longtime friend of Trump.
INTERVIEWED IN 2018
In 2018, Barrack was interviewed as part of the federal investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, according to the AP.
The specific topics covered in the questions from Mueller’s team were not immediately clear.
One of the people who spoke to AP said the interrogation focused entirely on two Trump campaign officials who have been indicted by Mueller: former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the deputy. longtime Manafort player Rick Gates.
Gates agreed to plead guilty to federal conspiracy and misrepresentation charges in February and began to cooperate with investigators.
This person said Barrack was interviewed “months ago” and asked a few questions about Gates’ work on Trump’s inaugural committee, which Barrack chaired, but there were no questions. on the money collected by this committee.
A second person with knowledge of Barrack’s interview said the questioning was broader and included financial questions about Trump’s campaign, transition and nomination in January 2017.
Barrack had had rare access and insight into Trump for decades, from when they were developing real estate.
BEST FUNDRAISER IN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN
He played a pivotal role in the 2016 campaign as the main fundraiser at a time when many other Republicans were avoiding the upstart candidate.
Barrack then led Trump’s nomination.
Barrack, a wealthy real estate investor with close ties to several Middle Eastern leaders, met Trump in 1988 when he negotiated the sale of the Plaza Hotel in New York to Trump.
The Barrack publicist in 2016 described the men as having since “solidified a long-standing friendship between them and their families.”
Barrack employed Gates last year, closing the operations of the presidential nomination committee before Gates was indicted by Mueller.
He spoke enthusiastically about Trump in an interview with CNBC in early 2016.
“He’s one of the kindest, humblest friends I’ve ever had,” Barrack said.
“I have so much respect for him because at this point in his career wandering around was not easy, and he changed the dialogue of the debate.”
Barrack was also among the guest speakers at the Republican convention where Trump officially received the nomination.
Days after Trump’s victory in November 2016, Barrack told CBS’s This Morning that Trump was like an ultimate fighter during the campaign who used “all the tools necessary to deliver a truly disruptive message.”
Barrack said America would see a “gentler, kinder” Trump when he won the presidency.