Trump Aide Thomas Barrack & Paul Manafort Gave Drafts Of ‘America First’ Energy Speech To United Arab Emirates For Edits
During President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign, one of his aides submitted drafts for an energy-related speech to senior United Arab Emirates officials for edits.
According to emails obtained via a House Oversight Committee inquiry, California investment magnate Thomas Barrack — who holds a long list of Middle East contacts and who also contributed to Trump’s 2017 inauguration — shared with a former business associate from the UAE in 2016 an advance copy of Trump’s prepared energy policy speech, just two weeks before the then-candidate delivered it.
The associate, Rashid al-Malik, then in turn reportedly gave that speech draft to Saudi government officials. Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also allegedly played a role in ensuring language UAE officials wanted appeared in the final speech. Manafort’s legal team did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.
Lawmakers who investigated the subject said they found insufficient evidence to determine “whether Trump was aware that drafts of his speech were circulated to foreign officials in the Middle East or that feedback had been provided through Mr. Barrack and Mr. Manafort.”
In total, Congressional investigators acquire more than 60,000 documents revealing how Trump 2016 campaign officials were providing foreign governments and other foreign contacts access to key policy decisions.
In the speech in question — which Trump delivered in North Dakota in May 2016, just after he had secured the GOP nomination for president — he issued an “America first” message by saying he would prioritize American energy jobs over multinational environmental deals like the Paris climate accord.
“Under my presidency, we will accomplish complete American energy independence,” he told the crowd. “Imagine a world in which our foes, and the oil cartels, can no longer use energy as a weapon.”
The Trump administration’s move to sell sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia took shape even before Trump took office and was championed by Trump’s longtime personal friend and fundraiser, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. https://t.co/vf5ybiUD7q
— Tim O’Brien (@TimOBrien) July 30, 2019