Ian Patrick, FISM News
Former Trump campaign advisor Thomas Joseph Barrack was arrested on charges of lobbying for foreign nations, specifically the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Two other individuals associated with Barrack were also arrested on this same charge.
A seven-count indictment revealed on July 20 in a New York federal court claims that these individuals were acting “as agents of the UAE between April 2016 and April 2018,” according to a report from the Department of Justice. The report further states that Barrack was also charged with “obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 20, 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.”
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Jacquelin M. Kasulis, said the defendants used “their positions of power and influence” to “promote the interests of the United Arab Emirates.”
As alleged, the defendants, using their positions of power and influence in a presidential election year, engaged in a conspiracy to illegally advance and promote the interests of the United Arab Emirates in this country, in flagrant violation of their obligation to notify the Attorney General of their activities and in derogation of the American people’s right to know when a foreign government seeks to influence the policies of our government and our public opinion.
Barrack had worked for President Trump since 2016 during his campaign as “an informal advisor” only to become the Chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee between November 2016 and January 2017. After that point, he “informally advised senior U.S. government officials on issues related to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.”
The other two individuals met Barrack when he was the Executive Chairman of a global investment management firm, a position he held during the same time he was working for Trump. One of these individuals, Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, is a UAE national and an alleged actor of the Middle Eastern nation. Alshahhi supposedly kept in contact with Barrack and the other individual, a man known as Matthew Grimes who worked at Barrack’s company and reported directly to him.
Since Barrack was working under the Trump administration while he kept in contact with these two people, the report claims that they took advantage of his access to U.S. officials “to advance the interests of and provide intelligence to the UAE.” Barrack himself is alleged to have even been in direct contact with the UAE government during this time.
The aforementioned alleged “interests” of the UAE included anything from speeches that spoke favorable of the Middle Eastern nation to proof-reading an op-ed authored by Barrack to be published in a national magazine. The DOJ report even speaks of a “wish list” that Barrack wanted from Grimes and Alshahhi in order to push favorable policies in the UAE’s favor.
Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the defendants repeatedly acted at the direction of UAE officials to influence the foreign policy positions of the incoming administration in favor of UAE interests. For example, in December 2016, Barrack attended a meeting with Grimes, Alshahhi and senior UAE government officials, during which he advised them to create a “wish list” of U.S. foreign policy items that the UAE wanted accomplished in the first 100 days, six months, year and four years of the incoming administration of the U.S. President-elect.
The DOJ specifies that, aside from their alleged behavior, the three individuals did not provide “the required notification to the U.S. Attorney General that they were acting in the United States as agents of a foreign government.”
Recently the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg were accused by the Manhattan district attorney and New York attorney general “of having since 2005 defrauded tax authorities by awarding “off the books” benefits to company executives,” according to Reuters. Both have pleaded not guilty in this charge.