Rachel Maddow spent much of her show last night focused on a single nugget within a NY Times report on Trump billionaire buddy Tom Barrack (exquisite irony in the name of your friend, Mr. Pres, more ironic if he helps put you in jail). Tom Barrack is tight – or was – “tight” with Paul Manafort, and acted as a liaison to leaders from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Tom Barrack may have been the key link between the Trump team and the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In August of 2016, Don Jr. met with someone (the Raw Story article detailing the Maddow segment, which I watched, implies that Junior met with George Nader) who has been granted immunity within the Mueller investigation. During the August 2016 meeting, Nader told Don Jr. that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were eager “to help” Trump win the election. Nader quickly became “embraced” closely by the Trump campaign as a key ally.
If all this sounds familiar, it might be by design.
“Manafort has since been indicted by the special prosecutor investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election,” The Times reporter David Kirkpatrick wrote. “The same inquiry is examining whether the Emiratis and Saudis helped sway the election in Mr. Trump’s favor — potentially in coordination with the Russians, according to people familiar with the matter. Investigators have also asked witnesses about specific contributions and expenses related to the inauguration, according to people familiar with those interviews.”
That revelation, that Russia may have coordinated with Saudi and the UAE should send your blood pressure up through the 200s. It caused Rachel to shout “Really?” incredulously.
Yet it fits. Recall that last night, I wrote – before I saw the Maddow story, check the times – on the Trump administration’s strange behavior toward Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and that it mirrors the deference that Trump has shown toward Moscow. Also, please recall where Trump went on his first international trip – Saudi Arabia, where he shocked analysts by inking a $110 Billion immediate sale of arms, and $200 Billion more in sales over a decade. (Citation in link to article above).
Mueller is on it.
The key is the meeting in the Seychelles, which I’ve also written about. The meeting occurred in January of 2017, and thus focused on how Trump was to “repay” the favor of getting elected:
Kirkpatrick explained that the Nader information comes from the emails exposing a secret Jan. 2017 meeting on the Seychelles islands between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Russian oligarch Kirill Dmitriev. The secret meeting was aimed to create a communications channel between the White House and the Kremlin. Prince then lied about it when questioned by Congress.
The Raw Story article forgets – but I do not – that someone else attended that meeting, someone from Saudi Arabia, and WTF is someone from Saudi doing at that meeting? From “The Guardian.”
One of the Arab world’s top spies and a shadowy conduit to Vladimir Putin‘s Kremlin were present at a meeting in the Seychelles being probed by Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, DailyMail.com can disclose.
The meeting between Erik Prince, the Trump donor and billionaire Blackwater founder whose sister is education secretary Betsy DeVos, and Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian banker close to the Kremlin, was convened by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed, who is the de factor joint ruler of the United Arab Emirates.
I’m sorry, but I’m going to make the leap, even though as a lawyer I should be more cautious – that was the meeting they discussed how instructions would get to Trump from both Moscow and Riyadh. The “quo” from the quid pro, the “And now you work for us” part of the relationship.
The Raw Story article is poorly written and hard to follow – though they’re attempting to summarize a 20 minute report from Maddow, so we’re not hard on them, it’s not an easy task. But, Barrack’s role was limited to the early period, setting up the first relationships between the Trump campaign and the Saudi prince – who had not yet even overthrown the crown! If you really want to dive into a rabbit hole, how is it that Trump is meeting with a Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Russians, when neither Salman, nor Trump were even the leaders of their country at the time?
“There’s an interesting part of this where Tom Barrack tries to set up a meeting between Paul Manafort and then the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman,” Kirkpatrick said. “It was discussed between Yousef Al Otaiba, the Emirati ambassador, and Tom Barrack as a prelude bringing MBS (as he’s known) together with the candidate. It’s a rather advanced effort to try to hook up the campaign with Saudi Arabia and specifically with MBS at a time he wasn’t yet the successor to the thrown. When he was still making his move.”
Seems like Putin has had some real unique “luck” in setting up friendly leaders of powerful oil nations (common denominator, oil, and ultimately Iraq-Iranian policy). No one thought Trump had a chance, the crown prince was not in line for the crown …Putin seems to have a habit of getting who he wants.
Rachel entitled her segment “Pattern Recognition.” I recognize the pattern, and I’ll bet you do, too. Robert Mueller likely knows of details that make it a scheme, not a pattern.
**We bravely enter our 2nd week on twitter, last night we posted one of the greatest living physicists giving a talk at the Sydney Oprah House, blowing minds down under. I’d be honored if you followed me, I promise to branch out much more broadly than politics, and we’re all going to need the diversions. @MiciakZoom