Trump Ally Thomas Barrack Arrested For Lobbying For UAE Government, Feds Say
Thomas Barrack — a real estate investor who chaired former President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee in 2017 — was arrested by federal agents Tuesday and charged with lobbying Trump on the United Arab Emirates’ behalf, the Department of Justice announced, making Barrack the latest Trump ally to face criminal charges.
Barrack plus American Matthew Grimes and Emirati national Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi were charged with conspiring to act as UAE agents between 2016 and 2018, and Barrack was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to the FBI.
Federal authorities say Barrack used his connections to Trump to advocate for the UAE’s interests during the 2016 campaign, and praised the country during multiple TV interviews that year, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.
“The defendants repeatedly capitalized on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected President, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true allegiances,” acting Attorney General Mark Lesko said in a statement.
Barrack told the New York Times two years ago he didn’t lobby for a foreign government, but instead worked as a neutral intermediary between foreign leaders and the 2016 Trump campaign.
The charges against Barrack aren’t directly related to his work on the 2017 inaugural committee, which D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine is currently suing for allegedly using donors’ funds to benefit Trump’s hotel business.