Trump’s inaugural 2017 president Tom Barrack was arrested Tuesday on seven counts.
He and two other defendants have been charged with breaking foreign lobbying laws.
Barrack was also charged with obstructing justice and lying to the FBI.
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Former President Donald Trump’s Inaugural Fund Chairman Tom Barrack was arrested Tuesday and charged with seven counts, including acting as an unregistered agent for a foreign government, of obstruction to justice and misrepresentation.
Two other defendants – Matthew Grimes and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi – were also charged with Barrack. According to the indictment, the three defendants are charged with one count of acting as unregistered foreign agents and one count of conspiracy to act as unregistered foreign agents between April 2016 and April 2018.
Barrack was further charged with one count of obstructing justice and four counts of material misrepresentation to the FBI.
A spokesperson for Barrack told Insider he would plead not guilty to the charges against him.
“Mr. Barrack has made himself available to investigators from the start,” the spokesperson said. “He is not guilty and will plead not guilty.”
Mark Lesko, the acting deputy attorney general of the Department of Justice’s national security division, said in a press release that Barrack, Grimes and Alshahhi had “repeatedly capitalized on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was ultimately elected president, campaigning high-ranking and US government and media officials to advance the political goals of a foreign government without revealing their true allegiances. “
He added: “The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing less than a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former president. With this indictment, we are warning everyone – regardless of wealth or perceived political power – that the Justice Department will enforce the ban on this type of undisclosed foreign influence. “
NBC’s Andrew Blankstein and Pete Williams first reported on Barrack’s arrest.
Barrack called UAE “home team”, indictment says
Barrack served as an informal advisor to the Trump campaign from April to November 2016, and he served as chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee from November 2016 to January 2017. The DOJ said Barrack also “informally advised senior government officials. US government on issues related to US foreign affairs. policy in the Middle East “from January 2017, and that he wanted to take up a leadership position in the US government, including as special envoy to the Middle East.
Barrack is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Los Angeles-based investment management firm Colony Capital. He resigned his position as executive chairman last year and resigned from the company in April. Grimes also worked for Colony Capital and reported to Barrack, while Alshahhi worked as an agent for the United Arab Emirates and “was in frequent contact with Barrack and Grimes, including many face-to-face meetings” in the United States and the Arab Emirates. united, the DOJ said.
The three defendants used Barrack’s access to the Trump campaign and the US government “to advance interests and provide intelligence to the UAE” without informing the DOJ of their status as agents of a foreign government, according to the press release. He went on to say that in addition to being in regular contact with senior UAE officials, Barrack called Alshahhi the UAE’s “” secret weapon “to advance its foreign policy agenda in the United States. United”.
In May 2016, the DOJ said Barrack “inserted praising language for the United Arab Emirates” into a campaign speech Trump was going to deliver and emailed a draft of the remarks to Alshahhi for him to say. ‘sent to officials in the United Arab Emirates. The defendants also “sought and received direction and comment” from senior UAE officials throughout 2016 and 2017 to promote the country’s interests, the statement said.
After an appearance in which Barrack praised the UAE, he emailed Alshahhi: “I made it… for the home team,” referring to the UAE, according to the DOJ.
The indictment also accused Barrack of having “knowingly, intentionally and corruptly” obstructed justice in June 2019 by making “materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI during an interview.
He is accused of lying to federal agents saying that Alshahhi did not ask him to work for the UAE and never relayed the UAE’s policy demands to Barrack, while in he had done, according to the indictment.
In one instance, on May 24, 2017, Barrack texted Alshahhi saying he would “stay on the sidelines to help [the United Arab Emirates] navigate [sic]”The Trump administration, according to the indictment. Alshahhi replied,” Our ppl wants you to help. They were hoping you could officially manage the calendars. “
Barrack replied, “I will!” according to the indictment.
The three defendants have also worked to advocate for officials privileged by the United Arab Emirates to be appointed to positions in the Trump administration, according to court documents. In March 2017, Barrack, Grimes and Alshahhi worked to secure the appointment of a sitting U.S. congressman – who was not named in the indictment – as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. Alshahhi told Grimes that the date was “important to our friends” because “your [sic] are about to change the current one. “
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