Court Battles

Tillerson testifies that Tom Barrack wanted to be an ambassador under Trump

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified on Monday that investor Tom Barrack, who is accused of unlawfully lobbying for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), at one point asked to become an ambassador in the Trump administration.

Barrack, former President Trump’s close friend who chaired his inaugural committee, was charged in July 2021 for working on behalf of the UAE as an unidentified foreign lobbyist.

Tillerson said at Barrack’s federal trial in New York that he received a call from the billionaire investor “expressing an interest in serving as an ambassador,” according to The Associated Press.

Tillerson said when he brought the proposal up to Trump, “He did not proactively say, ‘Yes, please take a look at Mr. Barrack for this or that role,'” CBS News reported. The former Exxon Mobil CEO said he made no follow-ups on the request.

Barrack is charged with nine counts, including ones related to making false statements, obstruction of justice and working secretly as a foreign agent for the UAE. Tillerson is the highest-profile witness to take the stand in the case, the AP reported.

The former secretary of State said he was unaware of Barrack’s plans to influence a foreign government and said he barely knew him, adding that the two men spoke only a handful of times, The New York Times reported.

Prosecutors have shared emails and text messages between Barrack and Emirati officials and Trump campaign officials working for the then-candidate in 2016.

They allege Barrack tried to manipulate Trump’s campaign and later his administration to advance UAE interests and that UAE officials poured millions of dollars into Barrack’s business interests as a reward. Prosecutors said part of Barrack’s efforts led to a 2017 meeting between Trump and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the AP reported.

Tillerson said he advised Trump during his time as secretary of State that any information he shared during meetings should remain confidential.

Tillerson was fired by Trump in 2018.

Tags Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Rex Tillerson Tom Barrack

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