The “Big Boss” Directing Tom Barrack’s Actions

There’s something almost entirely missing from the Tom Barrack indictment charging him with acting as an Emirate Agent. The money.

The indictment invokes forfeiture law, suggesting that someone profited from all of this or there’s some other loot the government wants to seize (but it lists none specifically; a memo requesting detention until a bail hearing requests that Barrack be made to identify all his financial assets to get bail).

But other than that, the sole mention of money describes that, on July 14, 2016 (months after this relationship started), Barrack pitched a “guidance board” that would tie UAE’s investments with strategic goals.

The presentation proposed the creation of a guidance board “through which all [UAE] investments are intertwined with the strategic vision of the country’s foreign and domestic policies as well as economic goals,” with the guidance board mandating “that all investments in operating companies use the resources at their disposal to influence [UAE’s interests] abroad … and partner with leading [UAE] friendly-influential figures to do so.” The presentation further proposed that the defendant THOMAS JOSEPH BARRACK work directly with Emirati Official 2 to execute the proposed strategy.

Then, months later on December 14, after Trump’s victory, this proposal assumed continued influence over Trump’s actions.

While the primary purpose of the platform [will be] to achieve outsized financial returns, it will also accomplish a secondary mandate to garner political credibility for its contributions to the policies of [Trump] … We will do so by sourcing investing, financing, operationally improving, and harvesting assets in those industries which will benefit most from a [Trump] Presidency.”

This suggests that Barrack and Colony Capital would be expected to direct UAE’s Sovereign Funds in such a way as to implement their policy goals. A 2018 NYT story described how Barrack’s investment firm raised $7 billion in the time after Trump got the nomination, almost a quarter of it from Saudi and Emirate sources — but none of that appears in the indictment.

Mr. Barrack’s company, known as Colony NorthStar since a merger last year, has raised more than $7 billion in investments since Mr. Trump won the nomination, and 24 percent of that money has come from the Persian Gulf — all from either the U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia, according to an executive familiar with the figures.

These financial relationships will face a great deal of scrutiny as this case goes forward because a Foreign Agent cannot be someone “engaged in a legal commercial transaction.” One defense Barrack might try to make is that this was all about obtaining customers for his investment fund. But if no money changed hands, Barrack might suggest he sincerely believed in the import of fostering better ties between the Emirates and the US.

A Foreign Agent, not a lobbyist

Contrary to what you might have read, this is not a FARA case, which is generally treated as a regulation covering certain kinds of lobbying for foreign (including non-governmental, like the political party Paul Manafort hid his work for) entities. Barrack was charged under 18 USC 951, which is about working for a foreign government directly. The statute is sometimes referred to as Espionage Lite, and in this case, the government might believe at least some of the people involved — perhaps Al Malik, who fled the country days after the FBI interviewed him in April 2018 — are spies. By charging 951, though, the government only has to show that the team was ultimately working on orders from government officials without registering, not that someone was secretly reporting to another country’s spying agencies.

And this is pretty clearly about a relationship directly with UAE. In addition to Barrack and his employee Matthew Grimes, the indictment describes a chain of command in which several senior Emirati officials convey requests through Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi (referred to as Alshahhi in the indictment and as Al Malik here and elsewhere) to Barrack. On the Emirati side, Emirati Official 1 (EO1), is described as someone who, “held a high-ranking position in its armed forces,” but who, given events described in the indictment, must be Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed. Emirati Official 2 (EO2) is described as a “high-ranking official with responsibilities related to national security,” but appears to be National Security Advisor Tahnoun Bin Zayed. Emirati Official 3 (EO3) is described as a member of UAE’s National Security Council. Their orders often get delivered to Al Malik through Emirati Official 4 (EO4), who is described as a government official who reports to EO 2 and EO3. There’s also a diplomat, Emirati Official 5, who asked Barrack to provide insight into the top national security appointments Trump was planning. Basically, this amounts to MbZ tasking EO4 to instruct Al Malik to provide instructions in turn to Barrack. This structure is important, because it demonstrates that Barrack was being directed directly by the UAE government and, starting in October 2016, directly by MbZ himself.

A secret agent hiding the direct orders he was following

Aside from this reporting structure, two things will help the government make the case that Barrack was working as an Agent of UAE. Officials from the Emirates explicitly said that they wanted to use Barrack to represent their policy interests in the US rather than relying on their ambassador. For example, EO2 explains why he prefers to work through Barrack than UAE’s ambassador because he, “knows ambassadors can’t do much and they are limited even if they’re active.” After Barrack started doing TV appearances where he pitched the UAE, Al Malik told him that EO1 had said, “you are the new trusted friend!” And after Grimes submitted a Barrack op-ed for advance review by Emirate officials, Al Malik responded that, “Big boss loved it.” Then after the op-ed came out (having had a reference to dictatorships that the Emiratis found objectionable removed), Barrack asked through Al Malik “how Boss liked the article?” The indictment further describes how, in December, the Emirates directed Barrack and Grimes to put together a set of plans — “100 days/6 months/year/4 years” — of what they wanted to accomplish along with the Saudis; on that plan Barrack, Al Malik affirmed in Arabic, would “be with the Arabs.” Then, when Al Malik wrote Grimes and suggested the US should list the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, Grimes responded, “At your direction.” This is the language of clear direction, channeled right from the top of the UAE government.

And while not required (remember that Maria Butina didn’t really hide what she was up to or even her ties to Aleksander Torshin), the indictment describes several ways that those involved tried to keep this relationship secret. As Barrack shared a Trump speech in advance, he described that it was “Totally Confidential.” In September, just as Barrack would start dealing directly with MbZ and two days before he’d call out MbZ in a Bloomberg interview, the go-betweens instructed Barrack to download the encrypted messaging app that MbZ uses. Barrack seems to have gotten a text directly from MbZ on September 29. And then in October, Grimes arranged to get both Barrack and himself dedicated phones to use to communicate with MbZ and others via the encrypted app.

While not included in the indictment, the detention memo also describes that Barrack downplayed his ties with Al Malik in a filing to the State Department.

Indeed, in June 2017, the defendant completed and submitted paperwork to the U.S. Department of State in connection with his efforts to secure an official position in the Administration. In his submissions, the defendant materially misrepresented his connection to Al Malik, falsely claiming to have had only infrequent contact with Al Malik and further claiming that he did not know Al Malik’s citizenship or whether Al Malik was affiliated with a foreign government, despite describing Al Malik in private communications as the UAE’s “secret weapon.” Further, in his submissions to the U.S. Department of State, the defendant was required to report any occasions when he had been asked to provide advice, serve as a consultant, even informally, or otherwise work on behalf of a foreign government. The defendant failed to disclose his extensive activities on behalf of the UAE.

It’s partly all this secrecy that will help the government prove their case.

But the way the government uses additional charges to show that Barrack tried to hide all this will help. In addition to 951 and Conspiracy to violate 951 charges (the latter of which was likely included because it’s easier to prove and to provide defendants, particularly Grimes, with a charge that has less onerous penalties to plead to), the government charged Barrack with obstruction of justice and four counts of false statements for attempting to lie about this. In a June 20, 2019 interview with the FBI, the indictment alleges that Barrack lied about whether:

  1. Al Malik asked Barrack to do things for UAE
  2. Barrack downloaded an encrypted app to use to communicate with MbZ and other Emirati officials
  3. Barrack set up a meeting between MbZ and Trump and, generally, whether he had a role in facilitating communications between them
  4. He had a role in prepping MbZ for a September 2017 meeting with Trump

Curiously, the detention memo mentions two more lies that aren’t included in the indictment:

(1) writing a draft of a speech to be delivered by the Candidate in May 2016; (2) reviewing a PowerPoint presentation to be delivered to senior UAE officials on how to increase the UAE’s influence in the United States with his assistance;

In any case, this structure makes it easy to hold Barrack accountable at least via his lies to the FBI, and that he allegedly lied is powerful evidence that the full scope of the relationship was meant to be secret.

The key Trump world figures and the black box White House

Over coming days, we’ll learn who all the Trump officials named in the indictment are, but a key, unstated part of it all is Barrack’s success at placing Paul Manafort on Trump’s campaign. The indictment dates Barrack’s role as an “informal” advisor to Trump’s campaign to “approximately April 2016,” one month after Barrack had a key role in installing Manafort on Trump’s campaign.  It describes how Al Malik set up a meeting on April 24, in advance of which Barrack boasted that he had a 30-year relationship with Trump and had “staffed the Campaign.” After a meeting in the Emirates, EO 4 confirmed to Alshahhi that Barrack would be “the only channel” to Trump for UAE. Days later, Barrack sent Alshahhi a draft Trump energy speech and asked for feedback. Ultimately, Barrack succeeded in getting a promise to “work with our Gulf allies” into a May 26 Trump speech.

It’s not really clear with whom Barrack was working on the campaign. The indictment describes that “a senior member of the Campaign” emailed Barrack with a revision of the Energy speech, in response to which, Barrack instructed the “senior member” that they needed “one paragraph to balance foreign-policy concerns for energy dependent allies in the gulf.” ¶22 It’s likely that this is either Manafort himself (who had not yet fully pushed out Corey Lewandowski but was well on his way) or Rick Gates, the latter of whom played a similar role when Roger Stone wanted to script Trump’s foreign policy statements at that stage of the campaign.

Barrack’s role as Chair of Trump’s Inauguration Committee is minimal to the crimes in this indictment (meaning double jeopardy would not prevent him from being charged in that, too). But one paragraph does describe how Barrack agreed when Al Malik offered to “take care of ME side” of the the Inauguration. And the indictment describes that when Al Malik attended the Inauguration, he did so as Barrack’s personal guest.

Similarly, there’s no mention of December and January meetings involving Jared Kushner and others, even though the December 12, 2016 meeting happened right after Barrack was in UAE on December 2.

One thing the indictment may have tried to do is insulate the indictment from any Executive Privilege concerns. Its narrative stops at the White House door. The indictment describes Al Malik asking Grimes to get the Administration to list the Muslim Brotherhood as an FTO and describes a public report shortly thereafter describing that it was under consideration, but it doesn’t describe who or even whether Barrack talked to to make that happen. It describes that Al Malik asked Grimes to set up a phone call between MbZ and Trump, describes Grimes observing that it got set up “right after I spoke to [Barrack] about it,” and quotes Grimes saying, “We can take credit for phone call.” But the overt acts of the indictment don’t actually say whether they deserved credit, or whether someone else had picked up the influence racket. The government must know he did, because they charge him for lying about setting up this meeting but it, by itself, is not an overt act. The day after MbZ met with Trump, Barrack wrote Al Malik describing that he had “lots of info on [the White House] meeting!” without describing Barrack’s source for that information. In an exception that proves the rule, the indictment describes how, as part of an effort to kill plans for a meeting at Camp David to mediate tensions in the Gulf, Barrack left a message with Trump’s Executive Assistant saying he had “something very important to share [using an ellipsis rather than naming Trump or anyone else] about the Middle East,” followed by Al Malik, two days later, offering “very special thanks and appreciations from the big guy.”

In other words, even though two of the charged lies pertain to Barrack’s role in shaping US policy in events that directly involved Trump, and even though comments suggest Barrack successfully interceded, the White House is treated as a black box; no discussions within the White House or between Barrack and Trump appear in the indictment, but they are implied in many places.

Where this came from where it will go

This investigation started well before 2018, because that’s when Al Malik fled the country just days after an FBI interview. That means it could have been a referral from the Mueller investigation (though given that Barrack lives in Los Angeles, it’s not clear why Mueller would have referred it to EDNY rather than CDCA). DOJ conducted other investigations into UAE’s foreign influence peddling there (as well as some investigations into Jared), so it’s possible this arose out of those investigations.

One thing that’s curiously missing from this indictment, though (along with references to the December 2016 or January 2017 meetings) is any reference to George Nader, who also was operating on instructions direct from MbZ and who provided extensive grand jury testimony as part of that investigation. When Nader tried to obtain a copy of his grand jury transcript as part of his defense in other influence peddling crimes in November 2019, it was revealed there were still multiple ongoing investigations referenced in it. There’s good reason to believe that Nader was not entirely forthcoming with Mueller though, in which case DOJ may not want to invoke him at all.

It’s equally interesting where this might go, which is part of the reason I find the different treatment of Candidate Trump from President Trump in the indictment really notable. This is an investigation that Billy Barr didn’t kill and that survived any pardon attempt, which suggests that Barr and Trump didn’t entirely kill all investigations implicating Trump (though the Rudy Giuliani investigation already showed that). But there are a number of things — most notably, the Inauguration — that might be implicated here but really isn’t part of the indictment.

Merrick Garland’s DOJ is not shying away from crimes that directly implicate Donald Trump. But the way they treated the White House as a black box in this indictment suggests significant deference to things Trump did while President.

Update: This Intercept story from June 2019 strongly suggests that this Barrack investigation arose out of the Mueller investigation.

Al-Malik’s name later surfaced in connection with a federal probe into potential illegal donations to Trump’s inaugural fund and a pro-Trump Super PAC by Middle Eastern donors. Al-Malik was interviewed by members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and was “cooperating” with prosecutors, his lawyer told The Intercept last year. The New York Times recently reported that investigators are looking into “whether Mr. al-Malik was part of an illegal influence scheme,” although no details of that potential scheme have been made public.

In fact, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that al-Malik served as a paid intelligence source for the UAE throughout 2017, The Intercept has learned.

[snip]

After he was interviewed as part of the Mueller investigation, al-Malik left Los Angeles, where he’d been based for several years, and went back to the UAE.

And the story describes Al Malik’s handler as the Director of UAE’s National Intelligence Service, Ali al-Shamsi.

Among the Emirati government officials overseeing al-Malik was Ali al-Shamsi, director of the Emirati National Intelligence Service, according to The Intercept’s sources. A source who knows al-Shamsi described him as “more than just a spy. He’s also a discreet messenger” for Mohammed bin Zayed, known as MBZ, and his brother Tahnoun bin Zayed, the UAE’s national security adviser.

This description is perfectly consistent with the description of EO 4 from the indictment.

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50 replies
  1. Ken Haylock says:

    I wonder what happens if Barrack & all his little helpers start singing like canaries to save themselves as far as possible, & somebody identifies that Trump had the US military or the CIA kill people as part of a corrupt arrangement with MBZ or MBS, or that wars were started or stopped, & US troops died, so that Donald Trump could get his beak wet on some real estate gig. Do they really say ‘Yeah, looks like that happened, but we can never prove it to prosecute it because we aren’t allowed to investigate the President even for capital crimes he commits in office once he’s left…

  2. harpie says:

    Typo? I think this be FORIEGN Agent:
    These financial relationships will face a great deal of scrutiny as this case goes forward because a Federal Agent cannot be someone “engaged in a legal commercial transaction.”

  3. yogarhythms says:

    Ew,
    Tom Barrack’s indictment united J6r’s and present DOJ in so far as there is a hands off Trump thread. Interesting sycophants respect for TFG and AUSA’s respect for the executive office may venn-like overlap for non-prosecution. I would like to hear Mimi Rocah, address the conflict that criminal evidence presents for prosecutors involving elected executive and rule of law vs non prosecution out of respect for potential harm to executive office itself and rule of law. Hope springs eternal there are more indictments.

  4. Ben Soares says:

    ….. the indictment walking up to the White House door and stopping is prophetic. Separating Trimp “the Candidate” from Trimp “so called President” allows for 2 Persona’s each of them with a book of law to be thrown at them . Presidential criminal activity being the “road less traveled” because it is booby trapped with privileges’. IMHO . Why am I thinking of Hulk Hogan’s defense strategy, and who paid for it ? gigln’

  5. SteveL says:

    Capsule description seems to be missing the word “indictment”:

    “The Tom Barrack is quite clear about who his boss…”

    [FYI, I’ve reverted your username to the one you’ve used on more than 30 previous comments. Please use the same username each time you comment so community members get to know you. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  6. Rugger9 says:

    I am not so sure that Garland is being deferential here to DJT, but more likely careful to build the case before indicting DJT. Others have noted how extensive the list of key players in the campaign and administration who have been charged, investigated for cause (i.e. not politics like Benghazi), resigned in disgrace, etc., and it is really a case where not being on the list is more exclusive than being on it.

    Sleaze is a defining characteristic of GQP administrations, from “St Ronnie” (Anne Gorsuch Burford got jail time, etc.) through Poppy and Shrub with too many examples to enumerate in a post. It always amused me when the GQP harrumphed about being the “law ‘n’ order” party given their unrelenting record of corruption.

    Realize that an indictment of DJT needs to be airtight and thorough because of the blowback from the RWNM when it hits. Technical violations would potentially let DJT walk and he’ll be “exonerated” and worse than ever.

    • eyesoars says:

      It also seems like there are other shoes waiting to drop, particularly for Jared Kushner and his spouse, Ivanka. His ‘666’ property got its loan from Qatar (which was under pressure from Saudi Arabia and UAE) about the time that many of these activities were happening. I’d be positively shocked if these were unrelated.

      • OmAli says:

        And what about Erik Prince? How could he have resisted?

        And Pompeo. THAT’S what I’m here for, y’all.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          This case makes me feel like I’m trying to do three-dimensional macrame, always on the verge of dropping a strand. My reading of the Barrack indictment suggested that then-congressman Pompeo was the handpicked choice of MBZ and/or Saudis. Don’t know if I’m reading it right; Pompeo had up until then been a mediocre sack of smarm, and suddenly he got designated for “greatness.” I never believed Trump came up with this idea on his own.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        I hope someone with investigative chops is doing a deep dive on US-Qatar relations during this time. I was flabbergasted when “we” joined a blockade against a country where ten thousand American troops were stationed. It was all too easy to picture Trump letting his inner Dr. Strangelove loose on the place before someone informed him of this. Slim Pickens could ride the MOAB all the way down while partygoers watched from Mar-a-Lago.

    • vvv says:

      “Anne Gorsuch Burford got jail time, etc.”

      Do you have a cite for that? Per wiki, etc., she was “the first agency director in U.S. history to be cited for contempt of Congress” but I can find nothing about “jail time”, and FWIW note that she returned to a private law practice after government, having previously spawned future Supreme Court Assoc. Justice Neil Gorsuch.

  7. BobCon says:

    I’m struck by how much this is being met by shrugs by the political press. Nine times out of ten I think the game of “if a Democrat had done this then the press would be…” is dumb. The analogies are weak and the hypotheticals are stretched.

    But this is different. If Clinton in 2013 had a top confidant and fundraiser arrested, it wouldn’t be shrugged off.Trump is the GOP frontrunner for 2024 and this pretty strongly suggests that the political press still understands nothing about who Trump is and how he operates.

    If they are not getting spun a story doesn’t exist for them.

      • BobCon says:

        Norman Hsu is good example of the difference here. His arrest was front page news for the NY Times, LA Times, WSJ, etc. and he was nowhere close to Barrack’s centrality for Trump. Hsu donated about $25K to Clinton and bundled a lot more, but had no major influence on her policies, she quickly distanced herself, and returned all of the money.

        It was absolutely reasonable for his arrest to be front page news. But what sticks out is how the reporting the very next day went into high speculative mode, talking about clouds and hypothetical damage, and was followed up by a running drumbeat of stories.

        Barrack is to Hsu as Brady is to Tebow. Actually, Tebow actually got on the field for a little while, and it’s not even clear that Hsu got that far with Clinton.

        It’s always possible that the press will eventually get around to covering Barrack like the key player he has been with Trump. But the sludgelike pace shows that there is an institutional bias against connecting dots with him that wasn’t in place with people like Hsu, despite Trump’s clear record of lawbreaking.

        • bmaz says:

          Say what you will about Tebow (most of it is pretty fair), but he not only got on the field, he actually won a playoff game for Denver!

          • Tracy Lynn says:

            Ah, but Tebow is no Brady (who is?), and Trump doesn’t have anywhere near the success at his endeavors that Brady has had with his. I suppose that means Trump is no Brady.

            • bmaz says:

              Trump is no Brady is an understatement. It is sweet that Tebow and Urban Meyer are still working in Jim White land though!

    • GeneralSternwood says:

      There seems to be a tacit acknowledgment that Trump, as the id-like expression of the grievance of displaced white privilege, is not expected to maintain niceties like civil society, law and order, or elections. And yet, the two party system is still covered in the same way it always was. The dissonance is severe, but still often unacknowledged.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I’ve given up believing any of this is about ignorance. Trump, for example, is woefully ignorant of things a talented high schooler would know by heart. More important, though, is his narcissism, vindictiveness, and lack of inhibition. He is entirely destructive.

      But the press, unable or unwilling to prove intent – or unwilling to challenge Republicans in power (Democrats are always fair game) – comfort themselves by staying in the passive voice corral. Within it, ignorance is an excuse for anything. It’s also Trump’s redoubt, because, as any aspiring mob boss knows, ignorance and incompetence are better than perjury, and perjury is better than being done for the more serious underlying crime.

  8. Rayne says:

    Two things come to mind reading this post and the indictment.

    — Barrack committed Logan Act violations; should we be having a discussion yet again about reviving the Logan Act because negotiations between unelected/unappointed persons and other countries appears to have been a pattern, not a one-off in Michael Flynn’s case;

    — Did this follow the indictment and prosecution of Trump’s economic adviser Stephen Calk for a reason, apart from low hanging fruit? I can’t see an obvious link between Barrack and Calk in the indictment but something niggles at the back of my mind there was a relationship of some sort besides their common status as economic advisers. Calk provided loans to Manafort as a quid pro quo, and Manafort was on the campaign because of Barrack. Was there something else, like a link between Calk’s bank and Barrack’s Colony Capital? Or was the link more tenuous if any, instead through Howard Lorber?

      • Rayne says:

        Here:

        … During the Trump campaign, Mr. Barrack was a top fund-raiser and trusted gatekeeper who opened communications with the Emiratis and Saudis, recommended that the candidate bring on Paul Manafort as campaign manager — and then tried to arrange a secret meeting between Mr. Manafort and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Barrack was later named chairman of Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. …

        source: Who Is Behind Trump’s Links to Arab Princes? A Billionaire Friend, NYT By David D. Kirkpatrick June 13, 2018

        Also here:

        … It was Barrack who persuaded Trump to hire political operative Paul Manafort — whom Barrack first met in Beirut 40 years ago — for the presidential campaign. Trump never publicly criticized Barrack for the advice, even as Manafort came under investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in a probe examining whether the campaign colluded with Russia. …

        source: ‘He’s better than this,’ says Thomas Barrack, Trump’s loyal whisperer, WaPo By Michael Kranish, October 11, 2017

        • SteveR says:

          I should have been more clear–your comment suggested it was Calk who brought Manafort on board.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      For what it’s worth (maybe not much), Calk was put on T’s “council of economic advisors” on August 5, 2016, just over a week after his bank conditionally approved Manafort’s loans. Also, a few years ago (while wondering about Calk’s connections) you made an excited reference to a piece in Real Deal (8/31/17) that included a kind of “road map” to the characters in some of T’s recent real estate dealings. Their firewall is keeping me out, but I think this may contain a version of said chart: https://wsiegelman.medium.com/trump-soho-drake-hotel-deals-68aca92d7eef (sorry don’t know how to disable the link). Calk is not listed (either small fry or really not part of that network), though UAE-dependent Kushner (surprise, surprise) is. Also, Rick Gates was an adviser to Colony Northstar (Barrack’s fund) until he was indicted in 2017.

      • vvv says:

        As he’s a local boy, I noted Calk’s recent conviction:
        https://abc7chicago.com/stephen-calk-bribery-trial-donald-trump/10884301/

        “This quick verdict means the government’s case was really strong. … took them less than half a day and it really suggests the jurors didn’t see this as a close case -they heard what they needed to hear, they came back quickly with a verdict,” said former federal prosecutor Gil Soffer, legal analyst for ABC7.

        ” And in a quirk of timing, Stephen Calk’s sentencing has been set for next January 10, five years to the very day that he formally interviewed at Trump Tower for undersecretary of the Army.”

  9. The Old Redneck says:

    “But there are a number of things — most notably, the Inauguration — that might be implicated here but really isn’t part of the indictment.”
    Anyone else think this is the elephant in the room? There is already considerable evidence of major grift in the Inauguration, and now they’re charging the guy who could presumably testify about it in detail.

  10. Marika D Gerrard says:

    I’m interested in the Manafort connection. He was pardoned. Does that leave him free to leave the country so as not to be available for questioning even if he can’t be indicted (can he)?

    • Norskeflamethrower says:

      Someone from here (Bmaz I think) said during one a the impeachments that a pardoned person can’t be charged but can’t plead the 5th if placed questioned under oath.

      • Norskeflamethrower says:

        WTF?!!

        [Dude, you’re giving me fits with your typos. Any delays you’re experiencing with posts not getting published right away are related to the typos you’re repeatedly making in name/email fields which I can’t stick around to clean up all the time. May I suggest you type out the correct spelling for each field, save them in a text file, and cut-and-paste if autofill isn’t an option? /~Rayne]

      • bmaz says:

        This true, unless there are corresponding state crimes still within the statute of limitations he could be charged with.

  11. harpie says:

    These financial relationships will face a great deal of scrutiny as this case goes forward because a Foreign Agent cannot be someone “engaged in a legal commercial transaction.”

    This has me a little confused. Does this mean that because DOJ charged Barrack under the “Agents of foreign governments” statute, we can assume that they think/know the “commercial transactions” were not legal?

    • harpie says:

      18 U.S. Code § 951 – Agents of foreign governments https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/951

      […] (d) For purposes of this section, the term “agent of a foreign government” means an individual who agrees to operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of a foreign government or official, except that such term does not include— […]
      (4) any person engaged in a legal commercial transaction. […]

  12. Dan_S says:

    Correction: MBZ is crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

    Dubai’s crown prince is Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

  13. JamesJoyce says:

    “Merrick Garland’s DOJ is not shying away from crimes that directly implicate Donald Trump. But the way they treated the White House as a black box in this indictment suggests significant deference to things Trump did while President.”

    The Benito Effect?

    Upside down like all good fascists?

    Trump & Company can rot in hell with Nazis, Merrick Garland.

    Descent people should know better than to touch the stench…

    Especially a son of a Holocaust Survivor, Mike…

    American’s Two Tiered Justice on full display, Dred Scott.

    Truth is evident as always even for those with intentional blind spots..

  14. Ewan says:

    There was a case in front of the Supreme Court involving a sovereign state (or its sovereign fund) and the discussion hinged on whether this meant it was out of bounds for Mueller’s investigation. Do these developments regarding Tom Barrack mean the sovereign state in question is the UAE, or is this unrelated?

  15. Njrun says:

    Unlike Trump, Barrack really is a big shot real estate investor. Instead of taking his considerable gains and living the high life, he couldn’t stop.

    Trump took every aspect of government and used it as a way to make money. Here he sold foreign policy in exchange for the UAE and Saudis putting billions into Colony’s private equity vehicles. That’s worth probably tens of millions of fees for Colony, and no doubt Barrack would have found a way to funnel some of that to Trump.

    Foreign policy isn’t illegal, nor is investing in a Colony Capital fund. Exchanging one for the other is illegal, and no doubt there are many many more such crimes waiting to be exposed.

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