Donald Trump’s 2017 Inauguration Committee chairman Tom Barrack was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to influence Trump’s foreign policy in favor of the United Arab Emirates, and committing crimes that attack “the heart of our democracy.”
Barrack, a 74-year-old Santa Monica California resident, was among three men charged in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. They are accused of conspiring to act as unregistered foreign agents while trying to influence foreign policy when Trump ran for office in 2016 and later when he became president.
Barrack was charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making various false statements when questioned by federal law enforcement agencies in June 2019.
Two other men also charged with seven charges in Brooklyn federal court are Matthew Grimes, a 27-year-old Aspen-Colorado resident, and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, a 43-year-old United Arab Emirates resident.
“The defendants repeatedly used Barrack’s friendship and access to the ultimately elected presidential candidate, top campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of foreign governments without revealing their allegiances,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Barrack not only agreed to promote the EU’s foreign policy interests through his unique access and influence, but also provided the United Arab Emirates with sensitive information about developments within the Trump administration, including how senior American officials reacted to Qatar’s blockade. United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern countries.
“Worse still, in his communication with Al Malik, the defendant made his attempt to secure an official position in the Biden administration a position that would allow him to further the interests of the United Arab Emirates, rather than American interests,” the prosecutor’s statement read.
A spokesman said Barrack would plead not guilty.
“From the outset Barrack has voluntarily prepared to be examined by a team of investigators,” the spokesman added.
Barrack is scheduled to appear in a preliminary trial in federal court in Southern California, where prosecutors will ask a judge to take him to New York. [em/lt]