Billionaire Tom Barrack, a longtime friend and adviser to President Trump, urged the administration to sell sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia while pursuing a job as a special envoy to the Middle East.
Barrack, an investor with extensive ties in the Middle East, urged Trump’s team to allow the sale of sensitive nuclear tech to the Saudis while he himself sought funding from the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates to bid on a purchase of Westinghouse Electric Company, the only American manufacturer of large-scale nuclear reactors, The New York Times reported. He also lobbied to have UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed push Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner to allow Barrack to serve as a special envoy to the Middle East, which Kushner ultimately blocked.
Though Barrack never landed an administration gig and his funding for the Westinghouse purchase never materialized, the Trump administration quietly agreed to let US companies sell sensitive nuclear tech to the Saudis in 2017.
“With regard to Saudi Arabia, the Trump administration has virtually obliterated the lines normally separating government policymaking from corporate and foreign interests,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said in a statement.
Barrack had UAE edit Trump’s ‘America First’ speech:
Prior to Trump’s win, Barrack served as an informal adviser to then-candidate Trump. In the lead-up to Trump’s first major “America First” energy speech in 2016, Barrack sent advanced copies of the texts to a business associate in the UAE who passed it along to senior government officials in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Barrack then incorporated edits requested by the UAE into a draft of the speech that he sent to then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who promised to push to include the changes in the speech.
According to the Times, some though not all of the requested changes made it into the speech.
Barrack under investigation:
Along with scrutiny over whether he acted as a foreign agent in his dealings with the Saudis and UAE, Barrack also headed up Trump’s inaugural fund, which raised a record $107 million.
Federal prosecutors in New York have been reviewing thousands of documents as they investigate whether the inaugural committee illegally accepted foreign donations and donations were made in exchange for access to Trump’s inner circle.
Barrack has denied any wrongdoing and said though an aide that he has cooperated with all investigations.