A Southern California businessman and former chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, Barracks has been charged with a seven-count indictment for acting as a United Arab Emirates agent between April 2016 and April 2018. He has also been accused of obstructing justice and making a liar. Statements to federal law enforcement agents.
A spokesman for Barracks said he would not plead guilty to the charges. A judge ordered his custody after he appeared in the preliminary court on Tuesday afternoon.
But Barracks’ relationship with Trump began long before the former ran for the presidency or found reality-television fame.
Born to immigrants who owned a Lebanese grocery store, Barracks made his fortune in distressed assets, or what he saw as low-risk, high-reward properties desperate to rehabilitate.
Still, it wasn’t until the 1990s that Trump joined Barracks, who became an increasingly trusted advisor and sounding board as he found success in the business world.
Barracks’ business profile would grow along with Trump’s notoriety, and by the time Trump began considering a White House bid, Barracks was well positioned to exert considerable influence over strategy.
Nick Ribis, a top Trump casino executive, previously told CNN: “Donald initially used Tom to pitch his ideas. Tom didn’t get involved for political reasons.” “Ego gets in the way – jealousy and arrogance. Not so with Donald and Tom.”
Public and private support for Trump
When needed a way to soften his image with Mexico, Barrack encouraged Trump to make a last-minute secret visit to the country and show that he could blunt his rhetoric on the world stage. And as Muslim monarchs raised alarm bells over a policy forbidding their 1.6 billion followers to immigrate to the US, Barracks urged Trump to back his abrasive posture — while spewing soothing words to his own Rolodex. Back-channeling.
“I only have amazing things to tell you about Donald,” Barracks said in his 2016 conference speech, “because this guy’s cool enough, he’s tough enough, he’s smart enough and he’s good enough on his own merits.” But know enough to do it.”
Their relationship culminated in Barracks’ role as chairman of Trump’s presidential inauguration committee, in which he planned and coordinated most of the events surrounding Trump’s 2017 inauguration.
But his high profile in the Trump world has drawn considerable scrutiny, even though he remains an outside adviser.
In 2019, Barracks drew considerable backlash when he argued that the US did not have the moral right to criticize Saudi Arabia because of its record of “atrocities”.
“Unless you make me a guest at the Ritz,” Barrack quipped before proceeding to answer a question from CNN’s Becky Anderson at the Milken Institute MENA Summit in Abu Dhabi.
Barracks’ influence in the Trump administration and how he may have influenced it was again questioned on Tuesday.
According to the ongoing indictment, Barracks and two other men — Matthew Grimes of Aspen, Colorado, and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahi, a United Arab Emirates citizen — had “advanced” Barrack’s position as a senior outside adviser to the Trump campaign. Capitalized to “. interests of the UAE and failed to provide intelligence, as well as inform the Attorney General that their actions were taken at the direction of senior UAE officials.”
According to the allegations, Barracks was directly and indirectly in contact with senior UAE leadership, and referred to Alshahi as his “secret weapon” to promote his foreign policy agenda in the US.