Trump’s inaugural chairman Tom Barrack has been arrested on charges of being a UAE agent
Former President Donald Trump’s founding committee chairman Thomas Barrack has been charged with conspiracy to illegally advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates and use his political ties to Trump to fuel those efforts.
Barrack, 74, of Santa Monica, Calif., Was one of three counts accusing the group of conspiracy to act as UAE agents for two years that ended in April 2018. The former Trump confidante was also charged with obstruction before the judiciary on charges of “multiple false statements” during an interview with federal agents in 2019.
“The defendants repeatedly exploited 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 political goals of a foreign government without revealing their true loyalty,” General said Mark Lesko. “The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing less than a betrayal of these officials in the United States, including the former president.”
Federal agencies referred to a number of high-level advisory roles Barrack held when attempting to lobby on behalf of the UAE, including serving as Trump campaign advisor; Chairman of the founding committee; and as a foreign policy advisor in the Middle East. Barrack, according to the prosecutor, has also applied for an appointment as special envoy for the Middle East. Barrack and Trump have been friends for decades, and Barrack was a major fundraiser for Trump’s presidential campaign.
“The defendants used Barrack’s status as a senior external advisor to the campaign and later as a senior government official of the United States to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates and provide them with information while failing to inform the (US) attorney general of their actions Arrested instruction of senior UAE officials, “said prosecutors.
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Foreign government officials working in the United States are required by law to register their connections with the Department of Justice as foreign agents.
Barrack and one of the co-defendants, Matthew Grimes of Aspen, Colorado, were arrested in California the previous Tuesday and were due to appear in Los Angeles for the first time.
William Sweeney, chief of the FBI’s New York branch, said the case involved “secret attempts to influence our top officials.”
“American citizens have a right to know when foreign governments or their agents are trying to influence our government,” Sweeney said. “This is especially important for Americans during a presidential election year, and the laws around it were created” to protect our nation from such adverse influences. “
Alleged wish list of the UAE
Prosecutors alleged that Barrack was in regular contact with “the top leadership of the United Arab Emirates government” through a third defendant, Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, a 43-year-old UAE citizen.
“Several times, Barrack has referred to Alshahhi as the United Arab Emirates’ ‘secret weapon’ to advance its foreign policy agenda in the United States,” prosecutors said.
In May 2016, according to federal authorities, Barrack inserted into a Trump campaign speech on US energy policy praising the UAE and “emailed a draft speech to Alshahhi for distribution to senior UAE officials.”
“After the US presidential election in 2016, the defendants repeatedly acted on instructions from UAE officials to influence the foreign policy positions of the new government in favor of the interests of the UAE,” prosecutors accused. “In December 2016, Barrack met with Grimes, Alshahhi and senior UAE government officials and advised them to create a ‘wish list’ of US foreign policy that would cover the UAE for the first 100 days, six months, years and four years after the inauguration. “
In a separate memo arguing for Barracks’ incarceration pending his rendition to Brooklyn, New York, where the charges were brought, prosecutors alleged that the Trump confidante routinely tried to protect his alleged conduct from authorities.
“The accused’s repeated attempts to cover up his behavior reveal not only his sense of guilt, but also a repeated willingness to disregard the law, even when he learned of the criminal investigation,” said the prosecutor. “These features further support the defendant’s deportation to the Eastern District of New York.”
Prosecutors said the evidence against Barrack was “overwhelming”.
“The defendant’s actions during the relevant period are fully documented and corroborated in thousands of emails, text messages, iCloud recordings, flight records, social media recordings, photos, video recordings and other types of evidence, all of which include his consent Instructions from UAE government officials to take its activities on their behalf and communicate with these UAE government officials and their co-conspirators. “
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