Tom Barrack, a billionaire and a close ally of US President Donald Trump tried to make a huge profit from America’s nuclear dealings with Saudi Arabia, a congressional report has revealed.
The report by the Democratic-led US House of Representatives Oversight Committee showed that Barrack sought to buy Westinghouse Electronics, one of the several companies that are competing to win a contract to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia.
According to documents obtained by lawmakers, while he was trying to buy the company, Barrack also lobbied Trump to become a special envoy to promote the Westinghouse’s offer in Saudi Arabia.
Even though Barrack failed in both efforts, the report underlines how easy it has been for some corporate and foreign interests to access Trump and other senior members of his administration in order to discuss their profit.
Documents obtained by the Democrats raised “serious questions about whether the White House is willing to place the potential profits of the President’s friends above the national security of the American people and the universal objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons,” the report stated, according to Reuters.
This is the Oversight Committee’s second report from a high-profile into the Trump administration’s plans to construct up to 40 nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries.
Barrack, Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn, and a consortium of firms led by retired US military commanders and former White House officials called IP3 has been among the plan’s key supporters.
Westinghouse, which is the only American manufacturer of large reactors, was bought out of bankruptcy by Brookfield Asset Management last August.
As part of his quest to profit from the deal, Barrack negotiated with Trump and other White House officials to get “powerful positions,” including special Middle East envoy, the documents showed.
The previous committee report, published in February, had found that efforts to advance the nuclear power scheme began when during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Ties to Saudi crown prince, Kushner
The report also gave a few clues about the possible role Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, might have been playing in the Middle East nuclear deal.
Barrack, his company and IP3 had discussed buying Westinghouse out of bankruptcy in mid-2017. They were planning to complete the purchase in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which is headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and other investors, the congressional report said.
The report showed that Trump had met Barrack on the same day that he met with the Saudi crown prince at the White House on March 14, 2017.
Barrack ultimately failed to purchase Westinghouse or become Trump’s special envoy.
However, his efforts to have ties with Westinghouse did not stop there. He asked Brookfield Asset Management if he could join the venture after the financial firm announced its winning bid for Westinghouse in January 2018. There is no evidence Barrack was successful.
Interestingly, Brookfield announced days later that it had agreed to a 99-year lease on a Manhattan building owned by the Kushner family, a deal which saved the Kushner Companies’ property.
The report is one of the many investigations the panel, chaired by Representative Elijah Cummings, is running into the Trump administration’s conduct. The lawmakers have also been asking questions about the use of personal texts and emails for official business by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband.
The revelation comes only a day after Trump attacked Cummings, an African American from Baltimore, over the weekend, in a series of tweets that the president’s critics have denounced as racist.
Monday’s report was based largely on thousands of documents provided by unidentified private companies, the report said, adding that the committee may subpoena White House documents.
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