Jul 29, 2019

Feds probe Gulf contacts of Trump ally

Thomas Barrack, executive chairman and CEO of Colony Capital, played an influential role in the campaign and acts as an outside adviser to the White House. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Federal prosecutors are looking at foreign influence over President Trump's 2016 campaign, his transition and the early stages of his administration, the N.Y. Times reports under a quintuple byline (subscription):

  • "The relationship between Mr. Barrack, Mr. Manafort and representatives of the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia, including Mr. al-Malik, has been of interest to federal authorities for at least nine months. The effort to influence Mr. Trump’s energy speech in 2016 was largely unsuccessful."
  • "The inquiry had proceeded far enough last month that [Tom] Barrack, who played an influential role in the campaign and acts as an outside adviser to the White House, was interviewed, at his request, by prosecutors in the public integrity unit of the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn."

What they're saying: "Mr. Barrack’s spokesman, Owen Blicksilver, said ... Barrack’s lawyer had again contacted the prosecutors’ office and 'confirmed they have no further questions for Mr. Barrack.'"

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Report: Trump associate leveraged White House ties to push Saudi nuclear plan

Tom Barrack. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

A report from the House Oversight Committee released Monday found that Trump associate Tom Barrack sought powerful positions in the administration at the same time he was promoting U.S. corporate and foreign interests that would benefit from the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

What we know: Barrack is a successful businessman who oversaw Trump's inaugural committee and has significant real estate dealings in the Gulf region, including with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The report states that "private parties with close ties to the President wield[ed] outsized influence over U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia," naming Barrack as "one of the key individuals leveraging his close ties to President Trump and the Administration to promote his own interests."

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019

Barr asks inspector general to investigate Jeffrey Epstein's death

Attorney General William Barr speaks about the release of the redacted Mueller report on April 18, 2019. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr asked the Justice Department's inspector general on Saturday to investigate alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's death, as the FBI conducts an investigation of its own.

What's happening: Law enforcement officials said Epstein, 66, hanged himself and was found in a jail cell Saturday morning at roughly 7:30 am. Previously, on July 23, "Epstein was found passed out in his jail cell with marks on his neck," per the New York Times.

Go deeperArrowAug 10, 2019

Trump Organization subpoenaed by Manhattan prosecutors over hush money payments

Michael Cohen. Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for records related to hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels by Michael Cohen during the 2016 presidential campaign, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The Southern District of New York said earlier this month that it had "effectively concluded" its federal investigation into the payments without charging anyone except for Cohen, who is currently serving out a 3-year sentence for campaign finance violations. State prosecutors are now investigating whether the Trump Organization falsely listed its reimbursement of Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Daniels as a legal expense, which would be illegal under New York law, per the Times.

Go deeperArrowAug 1, 2019