Trump ally jailed for acting as agent for foreign government – .

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Trump ally jailed for acting as agent for foreign government – .


Tom Barrack, former adviser to former US President Donald Trump, was indicted Tuesday of illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of the UAE for what federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have described as an effort to influence the foreign policy positions of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the incoming administration that followed.

Barrack was charged in an indictment with seven counts of acting as an agent of the United Arab Emirates between April 2016 and April 2018. He was also charged with obstructing justice and making false statements to federal law enforcement officials.

Barrack was the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, and while some of the alleged conduct relates to the presidential transition, it does not appear to be related to the inaugural festivities.

According to the indictment, Barrack and two other men were indicted on Tuesday – Matthew Grimes of Aspen, Colorado, and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, a national of the United Arab Emirates – took advantage of Barrack’s status as a senior external adviser to the Trump campaign to “advance UAE interests and provide intelligence to them while failing to inform the attorney general that their actions were taken under the direction of senior UAE officials.” “

Barrack was in direct and indirect contact with senior management in the United Arab Emirates, according to the charges, and he called Alshahhi a “secret weapon” to promote his foreign policy agenda in America.

Barrack and Grimes made a first court appearance on Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles, where U.S. magistrate Patricia Donahue agreed to continue the hearing until Monday morning.

The judge ordered the detention of Barrack and Grimes until Monday’s detention hearing.

In a filing on Tuesday, federal prosecutors described Barrack as a serious flight risk, calling him “an extremely wealthy and powerful person with substantial ties to Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” as well. as access to a private plane.

None of the defendants had to plead. A spokesperson for Barrack said he plans to plead not guilty. A Grimes lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alshahhi, meanwhile, has not been arrested. In the court file requesting Barrack’s detention, prosecutors said Alshahhi fled the United States three days after being questioned by federal agents in April 2018 and had not returned.

The UAE embassy in Washington did not immediately return a request for comment.

“I KEEP IT… FOR THE HOME TEAM”

The indictment cites several cases of alleged promotion by the defendants of the UAE’s program to the Trump campaign. In May 2016, Barrack inserted language praising the UAE into a campaign speech on US energy policy, then sent a draft speech to Alshahhi to give to UAE officials. united, according to the indictment. In 2016 and 2017, Barrack, Alshahhi and Grimes received talking points from UAE officials for Barrack’s television appearances in which he promoted UAE interests.

After an appearance, Barrack emailed Alshahhi, “I made it… for the home team,” referring not to the United States but to the United Arab Emirates, according to the charges.

After Trump won the 2016 election, the defendants reportedly continued to push UAE interests in the direction of UAE officials. In December 2016, Barrack, Grimes, and Alshahhi attended a meeting with senior United Arab Emirates government officials, where Barrack told them to make a “wish list” of U.S. foreign policy articles for the 100 first days of the incoming presidential administration, as well as for the first six months, year and four years.

According to the charges, Barrack had a dedicated cell phone with a secure messaging app for the purpose of communicating with senior officials in the UAE.

FIRST YEAR OF TRUMP IN OPERATION

In 2017, Barrack, Grimes, and Alshahhi continued to work on behalf of the UAE to advance their interests in the White House. Three days after Trump’s inauguration, Alshahhi texted Grimes to arrange a phone call between UAE officials and the new president, according to the indictment. Grimes told Alshahhi he told Barrack about it, and a few days later Grimes told Alshahhi that Trump would speak to an Emirati official that day, later telling Alshahhi, “We can take the credit. of that phone call. “

In March, an official from Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United Arab Emirates, visited the White House, and the next day Barrack texted Alshahhi, telling him he had informed Trump of the meeting. . Barrack also said he made arrangements for another senior U.S. official to meet with the UAE official Trump spoke to shortly after the inauguration. Alshahhi replied, “Unbelievable. “

Around the same time, Barrack, Grimes, and Alshahhi began pushing those favored by the UAE to be appointed to the new presidential administration. On March 13, 2017, Alshahhi sent Grimes the curriculum vitae of a member of the United States Congress whom the United Arab Emirates wanted to be appointed United States Ambassador. The congressman’s appointment was “important to our friends,” Alshahhi wrote to Grimes. ” Because you [sic] are about to change the current one. “

Two days later, Alshahhi turned to Barrack, asking him to help him get the congressman’s nomination. “They r [sic] very keen on the ambassador they suggested to help the relationship. Your help will go far. Barrack replied, “Yeah, give me one more name.” “

About a month later, Barrack told Alshahhi that Barrack himself was being considered by Trump to either become U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates or special envoy to the Middle East. The appointment of Barrack to either post “would give ABU DHABI more power!” He said to Alshahhi.

“It will be great for us,” Alshahhi replied. “And make you deliver more. Very efficient operation. Barrack replied, “And good for you!” Barrack has never been appointed to either post.

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