According to a newly released report from Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, a longtime friend and adviser to President Donald Trump, Tom Barrack, is now known to have changed a major 2016 speech on energy given by then-candidate Trump so that it would come across as more pro-Middle East.
Since Trump’s election and move to the White House, Barrack has enjoyed much more powerful roles, including becoming ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and a special envoy to the Middle East. It’s no coincidence that at the same time as all that, according to details of the report given by ABC News and The New York Times, he was urging the U.S. to ease up on restrictions on the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
The findings are presented in more than 60,000 pages of documents and highlight the Dems belief that there is a broad and strong effort to influence U.S. foreign policy by officials both stateside and abroad who are closely tied to President Trump. This comes as there are still multiple ongoing federal investigations as to whether or not there was possible Russian influence on the Trump campaign.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) who serves as chairman of the oversight committee released the following statement:
“Today’s report reveals new and extensive evidence that corroborates Committee whistleblowers and exposes how corporate and foreign interests are using their unique access to advocate for the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia… The American people deserve to know the facts about whether the White House is willing to place the potential profits of the President’s personal friends above the national security of the American people and the universal objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.”-Rep. Elijah Cummings
Barrack has maintained serious business relationships in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE and said in a statement recently that his “engagement in investment and business development throughout the Middle East for the purpose of better aligned Middle East and U.S. objectives are well known, as are his more than four decades of respected relationships throughout the region.”
The statement also read: “Mr. Barrack’s consistent attempts to bridge the divide of tolerance and understanding between these two great cultures is etched in the annals of time. This is not political it is essential.”
Barrack has not formally been accused of anything and he has cooperated with interviews from federal investigators. In an interview with The Washington Post on Monday, a spokesman for Mr. Barrack said that prosecutors have indicated that there are no further questions for him.
The report focuses on a major energy speech from 2016 when Trump was speaking in North Dakota on his “America First” energy plan- something he hoped would show off his fossil fuel support. But allegedly, Barrack consulted close associates of UAE leaders and the result was a change in the language to appear more friendly to the Persian Gulf.
Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was then given the notes on the change, including the bit in the official speech where Trump gives a positive nod to the Middle East, saying, “We will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.”
The report also states the finding that in 2017 Barrack actively tried to secure positions in the Trump administration that would work closely with the Middle East and that he was trying to use his closeness to the President to influence him to transfer American nuclear technology to the Saudis. A deal like that would have surely been to Barrack’s own financial good.