Tom Barrack was the chair of Donald Trump’s inaugural committee. He had been a Trump confidant and financial backer for some time, and thus not surprising he would get a job like that. Today he was arrested for acting as an agent of the United Arab Emirates and trying to influence the President in their favor.
From the Department of Justice press release:
According to court documents, between April and November 2016, Barrack served as an informal advisor to the campaign of the candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Between November 2016 and January 2017, Barrack served as Chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Beginning in January 2017, Barrack informally advised senior U.S. government officials on issues related to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Barrack also sought appointment to a senior role in the U.S. government, including the role of Special Envoy to the Middle East. Barrack served as the Executive Chairman of a global investment management firm headquartered in Los Angeles, and Grimes was employed at the firm and reported directly to Barrack. During the relevant time period, Alshahhi worked as an agent of the UAE and was in frequent contact with Barrack and Grimes, including numerous in-person meetings in the United States and the UAE.
As alleged in the indictment, the defendants used Barrack’s status as a senior outside advisor to the campaign and, subsequently, to senior U.S. government officials, to advance the interests of and provide intelligence to the UAE while simultaneously failing to notify the Attorney General that their actions were taken at the direction of senior UAE officials. Barrack – directly and through Alshahhi and Grimes – was regularly and repeatedly in contact with the senior leadership of the UAE government. On multiple occasions, Barrack referred to Alshahhi as the UAE’s “secret weapon” to advance its foreign policy agenda in the United States.
Alshahhi and Grimes were also indicted. Grimes was also arrested, and Alshahhi remains at large. Barrack also made a big mistake:
On June 20, 2019, Barrack voluntarily met with FBI special agents. During the interview, Barrack allegedly made numerous false statements, including falsely denying that Alshahhi had ever requested that he take any actions on behalf of the UAE.
Barrack’s company, Colony Northstar, laid out plans to influence the government in a document. They expected to make a lot of money.
Back when Barrack was trying to influence Trump in favor of the UAE before and after the 2016 election, a lot was going on. Mike Flynn was working for Turkey and trying to set up something with Russia. Flynn was also working with Barrack on other deals. We are likely to see more come out about that as Barrack’s prosecution proceeds.
This is a big deal.