The paradox of the current GOP administration in power is that while Donald Trump gets up at the podium and brays “America First” he and his son-in-law and other minions can’t sell out our interests to foreign powers fast enough. “America Sold” would be a far more honest slogan, but don’t expect to see it any time soon.
Remember Thomas Barrack, Trump’s pal who got all the big-donor money for Trump’s inauguration (which Melania and her pals then began to divvy up) while Rick Gates filed false reports about payment and Barrack was asked what “benefits” top donors got? The House Oversight and Reform Committee just released a report showing that Barrack was pushing a U.S. nuclear energy policy in 2017 which just happened to benefit his own company. Imagine that. Washington Post:
The allegations detailed in a report released Monday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee come weeks after Barrack was interviewed by federal prosecutors about his work for foreign clients.
Together, the inquiries intensify the spotlight on the longtime Trump friend, who played a central role in raising big-dollar contributions for the president’s campaign and inaugural committee. Multiple federal probes have been examining possible foreign influence on Trump’s campaign including through donors to his inaugural committee, which raised a record $107 million.
In its new report, the House Oversight committee alleges that Barrack sought to leverage his relationship with Trump in an effort to promote corporate interests, including his own. Over the years, he has done significant real estate deals with investors in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. […]
The report concentrates on the period from January to May 2017, when it says Barrack sought to be named to several administration posts — including special envoy to the Middle East and ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. (Barrack has said he preferred to remain an outside adviser.)
All the while, House investigators wrote, Barrack advocated on behalf of Saudi interests seeking to obtain U.S. nuclear technology and took steps to see that his company, Colony NorthStar, would profit from the proposals he was advancing. The report notes that, despite this advocacy, Barrack did not register as a foreign lobbyist.
Nobody in Trumpworld likes to register as a foreign lobbyist. They just do foreign lobbying and hope nobody will notice, apparently. It didn’t work out too well for Mike Flynn, as you may recall, who, in addition to being on Turkey’s payroll, went to Saudi Arabia with Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner in 2017, trying to sell nuclear start up kits to the Saudis. Bannon has been out for a while, but Kushner is BFFs with Mohammad bin Salman, and he’s certainly not registered as a foreign lobbyist, either. As a matter of fact, nobody can figure out why he still has a security clearance. But one thing has been ascertained: why Trump is so pissed off at Elijah Cummings.
“The Trump Administration has virtually obliterated the lines normally separating government policymaking from corporate and foreign interests,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who has been under fire from Trump in recent days, said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
It won’t surprise you that the Republican minority opinion of the report is that it “doesn’t show impropriety with respect to the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.” Oh, no, not at all. It’s totally cool that Westinghouse “is the only U.S. manufacturer of large-scale nuclear reactors, and at one point Barrack expressed interest in purchasing the company using Saudi and Emirati capital but with sufficient U.S. ownership to discourage scrutiny from U.S. regulators.” What, impropriety? On those facts? Pshaw. And the miffed Republicans are calling it more presidential harassment. Don’t take my word for it, read the entire article. That’s what they’re saying. Incredible, but true.