A top advisor to then-candidate Donald Trump allowed senior officials from the United Arab Emirates to review and add language to a major energy speech given by Trump in 2016, email and text correspondence revealed by a House Oversight Committee investigation show.
Further, the report delivered to Chairman Elijah Cummings details efforts in the White House to “transfer U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia” at the behest of the kingdom’s leaders and U.S. corporations.
The investigation was launched after whistleblowers came forward to sound the alarm about corporate and foreign interests exerting undue influence over White House policy, particularly on the issue of transferring nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act prohibits any such action without the approval of Congress.
“With regard to Saudi Arabia, the Trump Administration has virtually obliterated the lines normally separating government policymaking from corporate and foreign interests,” the report said.
“The documents show the administration’s willingness to let private parties with close ties to the president wield outsized influence over U.S. foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia.”
The report outlines an exchange of emails between Trump’s Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and Thomas Barrack, a close friend and major fundraiser for Trump. In the exchange, Manafort asked Barrack about the contents of Trump’s energy speech, saying, “Are you running this by our friends?”
Barrack had indeed been “running it by” Emirati businessman Rashid Al Malik, who has close ties with the UAE government.
The Emirati contact was able to successfully make edits to the speech that was ultimately delivered by Trump in May of 2016.
“This is the most likely final version of the speech. It has the language you want,” Manafort told Barrack.
How did a foreign official from the UAE end up writing part of a Trump campaign speech on energy policy?
— ProPublica (@propublica) July 30, 2019
The report also describes how IP3 International — “a private company that assembled a consortium of U.S. companies seeking to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia”— pressured the Trump Administration on several occasions to not hold Saudi Arabia to a nonproliferation “gold standard,” which refers to U.S. law that dictates the conditions necessary for nuclear cooperation with other countries.
IP3 International complained they would be locked out of nuclear contracts with the Saudi government if such a standard were upheld, calling it an “obstacle to be overcome” and a “total roadblock.”
IP3 executives reportedly had “unprecedented access” to Trump Administration officials including President Trump himself, Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, KT McFarland, and Cabinet Secretaries Rick Perry, Steven Mnuchin, Mike Pompeo, Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and Wilbur Ross.
The company referred to the administration as an “extended team member” according to the report.