Trump aide Tom Barracks jailed for acting as a foreign government agent

Barracks was charged with a seven-count charge of acting as an agent for the UAE between April 2016 and April 2018. He was also charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal law enforcement agents.

Barracks was the chairman of Trump’s inauguration committee, and while some of the alleged conduct is related to the president’s transition, it appears to be unrelated to the inauguration celebration.

According to the indictment, Barracks and two others accused Tuesday — Matthew Grimes of Aspen, Colorado, and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahi, a United Arab Emirates citizen — of Barracks position as senior outside advisers to the Trump campaign capitalized to “advance” the interests of the United Arab Emirates and provide intelligence, as well as fail to 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.

Barracks and Grimes appeared in a preliminary courtroom in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, where US Magistrate Judge Patricia Donahue agreed to continue the hearing until Monday morning.

The judge ordered Barracks and Grimes to remain in custody until Monday’s detention hearing.

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

None of the defendants had to file a petition. A spokesman for Barracks said he plans to plead not guilty. A lawyer for Grimes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Alshahi has not been arrested. Seeking Barrack’s detention in court, prosecutors said Alshahi had fled the US in April 2018, three days after being interviewed by federal agents and did not return.

The embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington did not immediately return a request for comment.

‘I nailed it. . . for the home team

The indictment cites several instances of defendants allegedly promoting the United Arab Emirates agenda for the Trump campaign. According to the indictment, in May 2016, Barracks inserted language praising the UAE in a campaign speech about US energy policy, then sent Alshahi an advance draft of the speech to deliver to UAE officials. In 2016 and 2017, Barracks, Alshahi and Grimes received talking points from UAE authorities for Barrack’s televised performances, in which they promoted the interests of the UAE.

After an appearance, Barracks emailed Alshahi, “I redeemed it for the home team,” according to the allegations referring not to the United States but to the United Arab Emirates.

After Trump won the 2016 election, the defendants reportedly continued to advance the interests of the UAE at the behest of UAE officials. In December 2016, Barracks, Grimes and Alshahi attended a meeting with senior UAE government officials, where Barrack asked them to make a “wish list” of US foreign policy items for the first 100 days of the impending presidential administration. asked for The first six months, years and four years.

According to the allegations, the barracks had a dedicated cell phone with a secure messaging application for the purpose of communicating with senior UAE officials.

Trump’s first year in office

In 2017, Barracks, Grimes and Alshahi continued to work on behalf of the UAE to advance their interests in the White House. According to the indictment, three days after Trump’s inauguration, Alshahi texted Grimes about arranging a phone call between UAE officials and the new president. Grimes told Alshahi that he had spoken to Barracks about it, and a few days later, Grimes told Alshahi that Trump would speak to an Emirati official that day, later telling Alshahi, “We owe that phone call can take.”

That March, an official from Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United Arab Emirates, visited the White House, and the next day, Barracks texted Alshahi saying he had briefed Trump about the meeting. Barrack also said he had arranged for another senior US official to speak to the Emirati official, with whom Trump spoke shortly after the inauguration. Alshahi replied: “Wonderful.”

Around the same time, Barracks, Grimes and Alshahi began to push people in favor of the United Arab Emirates for appointments to the new presidential administration. On March 13, 2017, Alshahi sent Grimes the resume of a US congressman whom the UAE wanted to appoint as the US ambassador. The congressman’s appointment was “important to our friends,” Alshahi wrote to Grimes. “Because ur [sic] are about to change the present.”

Two days later, Alshahi turned to the barracks, asking him for help in obtaining the appointment of Congressman. “they are [sic] Very eager for the ambassador, he suggested helping the relationship. Your help will go a long way.” Barrack replied: “Yes – name me again.”

About a month later, Barracks told Alshahi that Trump himself was considering Barrack to become either the US ambassador to the UAE or a special envoy to the Middle East. The appointment of barracks to any position will “give more power to Abu Dhabi!” He told Alshahi.

“It would be great for us,” answered Alshahi. “And deliver you more. Very effective operation.” Barrack replied, “And great for you!” Barracks was not appointed to any post.

This story has been updated on Tuesday with additional development.

CNN’s Devan Cole, Sarah Moon and Stephanie Ellum contributed to this report.


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