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Tag: tom barrack

Trump Pal Got Emirati Bonanza While Lobbying White House

Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a billionaire fundraiser and longtime friend of former President Trump, sought hundreds of millions of dollars in investments from the United Arab Emirates for an investment fund that would reinforce the former president’s agenda and benefit from his administration’s policies, federal prosecutors said in a Tuesday court filing.

The filing was a superseding indictment that levied additional charges on Barrack for lying to federal investigators, lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of the UAE, and conspiring with Emiratis to influence the Trump campaign.

Federal prosecutors also said that Barrack’s investment management firm, Colony Capital — which, per NBC News, wasn’t named in the filing — received a sudden injection of $374 million in capital commitments from two UAE wealth funds after not receiving any funds from the country in seven years prior, from 2009 to 2016.

In a 55-page superseding indictment, which replaced the original 46-page court filing, the Justice Department closely details how although the pro-Trump fund’s “primary purpose” was to earn profits, it quickly adopted “a secondary mandate to garner political credibility for its contributions to the policies” of the Trump administration, federal prosecutors said in the filing, quoting what a top Trump aide wrote in a “U.A.E Fund” plan in the weeks after the 2020 election, according to the New York Times.

The Times also reported that the plan claimed the fund would make money by “sourcing, financing, operationally improving and harvesting assets” in industries that would “benefit the most” from the Trump administration. Federal prosecutors cited the fund as evidence that Barrack wanted to profit from his illegal lobbying of Trump and his circle on behalf of Emiratis.

The Justice Department also accused Barrack of making “multiple false statements” when he lied to the FBI in a 2019 interview with the bureau. The amended indictment charged Barrack for allegedly lying he had one phone when he, in fact, had a secret line solely dedicated to his communication with the Emiratis. Barrack was also accused of lying when he denied engineering phone calls between then-President-Elect Trump and two Emiratis officials in 2016.

Last year, the Justice Department accused Barrack and two co-conspirators, Mathew Grimes and Rashid Al-Malik, of “acting and conspiring to act as agents of the UAE” from April 2016 to April 2018.

“The defendants repeatedly capitalized on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected President, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true allegiances,” said the Department of Justice in a statement.

The indictment also cited April 2017 email and text message communications investigators obtained from the suspects, which stated Barrack could meet with the Emirati ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Abu Dhabi crown prince at the time.

Although there is no evidence that the meeting ever took place, the indictment stated that Barrack’s company, now known as DigitalBridge Group, received multi-million dollar capital investments in the following months. Internal company records attributed the massive investment to “Barrack magic,” the New York Times said.

According to a 2019 congressional oversight committee report, Barrack sent the Emiratis a copy of a Trump campaign speech about Energy he had drafted — and permitted Emiratis to recommend amends to — that praised Shiekh by name, the New York Times reported.

“They loved it so much! This is great,” responded co-conspirator Malik, who is still at large outside the United States. The speech also contained mild language favorable to the Emiratis: a pledge to "work with our Gulf allies.”

The Emirati meddling increased in scale after that, according to the indictment. In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Barrack worked with Paul Manafort, former President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, to water down the GOP platform at the Emiratis' behest.

“Can be much more expansive than what we did in the speech,” Manafort wrote Barrack in an email, “based on what you hear from your friends,” referring to the Emiratis.

In the indictment, federal prosecutors also alleged that Barrack and several Emirati officials worked together to arrange a phone call Trump had with Sheikh Mohammed during the transition in November 2016. “It’s done, great call,” co-conspirator Malik wrote in thanks to Barrack’s aide.

Barrack pleaded not guilty to the original counts filed last year and is awaiting trial, and his representative declined to comment on the superseding indictment. A spokesperson for Trump also ignored requests for comment.

Feds Indict And Arrest Trump Pal Tom Barrack For Foreign Agent Violations

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Federal law enforcement authorities have arrested a top Trump friend and ally, Tom Barrack.

Barrack served as then-President Donald Trump's chairman of his 2017 inaugural fund. The charges are not believed to be related to that fund.

"Few people are closer to Trump than Barrack, his friend for three decades," an October, 2017 Washington Post article said of Barrack.

"Barrack as Barrack helped rescue Trump's real estate empire years ago. He was the top fundraiser for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. He turned down a Cabinet offer, preferring to be an outside adviser, although his name is still mentioned as a potential White House chief of staff should Trump decide to choose a new one. Above all, Barrack has remained unfailingly loyal to Trump, whom he sees as a shrewd politician."

UPDATE:

NBC's Tom Winter reports charges include acting as an "agent" of a foreign government, "influencing the foreign policy positions of the Trump campaign in 2016" and lying to the FBI:

Under Investigation: Kushner’s Radioactive Mideast ‘Piece’ Plan

Originally published on Creators.

Often enough, the ambitious phrase “Middle East peace plan” emanates from the Trump White House, often associated with presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Only last week, the Polish government joined with the U.S. State Department to host a major international conference on Middle East issues in Warsaw.

But now the House Oversight Committee has released a stunning 24-page report about the pursuit of certain potentially dangerous commercial opportunities in the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, by Kushner and an assortment of other Trump cronies. Suddenly, the “peace plan” looks far more like a “piece” plan — as in cronies grabbing a piece of the Saudi financial action.

Based on information from alarmed informants within the government, the Oversight committee is investigating the Trump administration’s secret, reckless, and apparently illegal rush to promote the sale of nuclear power plants to the Saudi regime. On Thursday, the committee chair, Rep. Elijah Cummings III (D-MD), released an interim report titled “Whistleblowers Raise Grave Concerns With Trump Administration’s Effort to Transfer Sensitive Nuclear Technology to the Saudis.”

One such concern is the administration’s rejection of advice from lawyers, who warned that its plans to sell nuclear technology violated the Atomic Energy Act, designed to safeguard against the unchecked proliferation of atomic weapons and materials. Another is the brazen and unethical self-dealing by figures close to Trump, who sought to profit from the Saudi deals — including disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Tom Barrack, the real estate executive and Trump pal who ran the inaugural committee (now also under investigation by federal prosecutors).

According to the interim report, Flynn signed on as “advisor” to a firm known as IP3, which the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman accurately described as an “all-star team” of retired generals and diplomats pushing to build nukes in Saudi. This IP3 outfit recruited Flynn while he was serving as a campaign adviser to Trump, and he continued that role, despite the obvious conflict of interest, after he entered the White House. Others on Trump’s national security staff joined with Flynn to promote the Saudi nuclear sales, sparking conflict with officials who objected both on policy and legal grounds.

As soon as Trump was inaugurated, the IP3 group started pushing him to appoint Barrack as a “special representative” of the U.S. government, tasked with “implementing the plan.” At the same time, Barrack was considering an investment in Westinghouse Electric, one of the world’s largest builders of nuclear plants. Assisting him was Rick Gates — the same felon who had worked for Paul Manafort and ended up with a guilty plea and a cooperation agreement with the Office of Special Counsel.

Let’s pause here to think hard about the wisdom of constructing dozens of nuclear plants, with their potential for terrorist exploitation, in the same country that sent forth the 9/11 hijackers — never mind its recent misadventures in Yemen and its brutal murder of an American resident, Jamal Khashoggi.  It is incomprehensible that any American president would consider turning over the most lethal technology to the Saudis, with their aggressive brand of radicalized Wahhabi Islam.

But leaving aside the peril to world peace, there are billions to be made here. And that may be what matters most to the inhabitants of the Trump White House.

In that connection, the interim report notes a fascinating timeline, which begins with a holding company called Brookfield Asset Management acquiring Westinghouse Electric for $4.6 billion in January 2018. (Of course, Westinghouse Electric would have benefited hugely from the IP3 plan to build those Saudi nukes). And then just seven months, Brookfield Asset Management purchased a 99-year lease on 666 Fifth Avenue — the famous Manhattan tower whose $1.8 billion in debt had nearly ruined the Kushner family company, which owned it.

Brookfield’s decision to bail out the Kushner company by paying for that overpriced lease up front puzzled knowledgeable observers when the company first announced its purchase. After so many other potential investors had rejected that bad deal, what made Brookfield bite?

Perhaps now we will find out.