Tom Barrack Testifies He Briefed Trump’s Team About Foreign Relationships

On Tuesday, Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of former president Donald Trump, continued to defend himself against charges of illegal lobbying by telling the jury that he briefed Trump on his interactions with officials from the United Arab Emirates in an effort to help Trump better understand Middle East issues when Trump was a presidential candidate.

California real estate mogul and alleged foreign agent Barrack took the witness stand for a second day to defend himself against allegations that he illegally lobbied the Trump campaign and administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

Tom Barrack Testifies He Briefed Trump's Team About Foreign Relationships
Tom Barrack Testifies He Briefed Trump’s Team About Foreign Relationships

Barrack was questioned by his defense attorney regarding a conversation he allegedly held with a UAE official in the spring of 2016, during which he is said to have agreed to become a foreign agent on the UAE’s behalf. Barrack notified Trump officials, such as Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, through email, as later revealed.

Have you told Paul Manafort or Jared Kushner that you met with Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan to agree with him to surreptitiously influence the Trump campaign? Michael Schachter, Barrack’s attorney, posed the question to Barrack.

Most likely not,” was Barrack’s reply.

During his earlier testimony on Monday, Barrack stated that he was not requested to act as a foreign agent for the UAE during the meeting and that any such arrangement would have been “impossible” in his business transactions due to the “chilling” effect it would have on his other investors.

Prosecutors claim that Barrack, as chair of Trump’s 2016 inauguration fund, attempted to influence Trump’s foreign policy decisions both as a candidate and in the early days of his presidency. Prosecutors already presented hundreds of Barrack’s emails and text conversations as the bulk of their case, showing Barrack and his adviser, Matthew Grimes, organizing meetings with senior UAE government officials to discuss policy proposals over a period of many months.

Along with Barrack, Grimes has been charged with the crimes in question and has also entered a not guilty plea.

Tuesday, Barrack, whose family is originally from Lebanon, testified that he had frequent interactions with officials from the United Arab Emirates and that he did not believe he would have been impeded in discussing the campaign’s beliefs with those individuals.

It was a terrific thing, according to Barrack. I think we might have all benefited from having someone with expertise in both fields who could weave together a web of mutual understanding and acceptance.

“I was on fire,” he exclaimed. That I might have even a tiny bit of an impact on that process thrilled me beyond words.

When his lawyer queried him about accusations that he was trying to “manipulate the public” and “spread UAE propaganda,” he laughed it off.
Not at all,” Barrack remarked.

For his part, Barrack told the jury that Middle Eastern concerns are “part of my life.”

“Confusion and similar problems are common. The most significant challenge we face as a company is a lack of mutual comprehension and effective communication “Said Barrack. Since I witnessed the events firsthand, “this is something that hits close to home for me.”

Barrack testified that he tried to bring then-campaign manager Paul Manafort to a second meeting with the same UAE official, but that Trump said it was a “terrible idea” because “things in the campaign were hot and heavy” and he wanted Manafort to remain in place. This was all an effort to demonstrate that Barrack’s communications with the UAE were not secret.

Manafort and Cory Lewandowski “were also in a food war in the campaign at the time for territorial claim,” Barrack told the jurors. If he left his desk, it might not be there when he returned.

 

 

 

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