Oversight: Trump confidant Tom Barrack pushed for Saudi nuclear plant construction


Investor Tom Barrack, one of President Trump’s close confidants, heavily lobbied for a plan to construct dozens of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia that he has at times stood to profit from, the Democratic-held House Oversight and Reform Committee said in a report released Monday.

The report covers lobbying by both Barrack, a top Trump fundraiser, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn and found evidence that “private parties with close ties to the President wield[ed] outsized influence over U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia.”

{mosads}“These new documents raise 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 states.

Blicksilver PR, which represents Barrack, told The Hill in a statement that he had been cooperating with the panel and had provided documents it requested.  

“Mr. Barrack’s 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 firm added.

The report says that the White House did not cooperate with the committee’s investigation and provided none of the documents requested, with investigators saying the documents they were able to obtain indicated some administration officials used personal email to communicate with leaders at private firms pushing the plan.

The report focused on IP3 International, a company run by a group of retired American generals that spent several years promoting a plan to sell dozens of plants to Gulf nations with aid from Barrack and Flynn.

During the 2016 campaign, Flynn and later Barrack helped push the proposal, eventually promoting it to Trump and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. IP3 officials also briefed administration figures, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, according to the report.

The committee’s Republican minority issued its own report last week arguing Barrack had no conflicts of interest in promoting the deal because he was not a member of the administration.

“The Trump Administration is not rushing nuclear energy technology to Saudi Arabia” and “is not conflicted from deliberations to transfer nuclear energy technology to Saudi Arabia,” the Republicans’ report states, adding that the White House “has not skirted requirements for congressional notification about nuclear energy technology transfers to Saudi Arabia.”

The report comes shortly after The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors are investigating Barrack’s role in foreign lobbying, although Barrack himself has not been accused of wrongdoing.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Tags Donald Trump Jared Kushner Mike Pompeo Rick Perry Saudi Arabia Saudi nuclear Tom Barrack

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