Qatar attempted to lobby Huckabee, Dershowitz to influence Trump: report

Qatar attempted to lobby Huckabee, Dershowitz to influence Trump: report
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Qatar has sought to lobby some 250 people who might be able to influence President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE on policy, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and attorney Alan Dershowitz, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

People on the list even traveled to Doha, the capital of Qatar, the Journal reported. Some, including Dershowitz, said they now feel duped because they had been unaware that the trips were tied to state lobbying. 

“If I had known their purpose with me was maybe to impact the president, I would not have gone,” Dershowitz told the Journal.

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New York restauranteur Joey Allaham reportedly courted the group on behalf of Qatar alongside his lobbying business partner, Nick Muzin. The two earned at least $3 million for it, according to their federal filings, and say they did not attempt to mislead any of the possible policymakers.

Dershowitz said he had reservations about visiting Qatar, given that it has previously allowed Islamists such as Hamas members to live within its borders.

Dershowitz praised Qatar in an opinion column for The Hill after the visit.

Dershowitz declined to discuss if he received any money, but told the Journal, “I don’t make long trips to foreign countries paying my own way.”

Huckabee was paid a previously reported $50,000 honorarium for his visit to Qatar by Allaham. He did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

Allaham says he pitched the influence campaign to Qatari officials after Trump supported a Saudi-led blockade on the small country. Saudi Arabia condemned Doha for allegedly “financing, adopting and sheltering extremists.”

“We want to create a campaign where we are getting into his head as much as possible,” Allaham told officials, according to the Journal.

Qatar spent $16.3 million lobbying the U.S. in 2017, compared to only $4.2 million in 2016.

Some of that massive sum went towards more traditional lobbying, reaching out to those with ties to Trump and to members of Congress. Some went to the list of 250 “Trump influencers."