I was thrilled to join @danprimack on @AxiosReCap today to discuss yesterday’s arrest of Tom Barrack whose indictment raises some really, really troubling questions. podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ins…
I heard the name Tom Barrack as far back as 2014 when I was writing a book about the world of New York real estate. He was a big connector between the New York players and the money in the Middle East.
I wrote a whole book—"Kushner, Inc."—around the allegation that the Trump Administration’s foreign policy was run basically as one big effort to bail out Jared Kushner’s family’s financial problems.

Tom Barrack was the man in the middle.
What’s troubling about the indictment of Barrack & co. is that it confirms in detail that—as I reported in “Kushner, Inc.”—the Trump Admin supported the blockade of Qatar led by the UAE + Saudi Arabia in the summer of '17 for all the wrong reasons—namely, alleged self-interest.
Why did the U.S. support of the blockade matter? That blockade endangered the U.S.’s own national security because the U.S. air base—Al Udeid—is IN QATAR. In other words, we hurt ourselves.
Why would we jeopardize our own security? Well, just weeks previously, as it happens, the Qataris had turned down Kushner’s dad, who desperately needed a bail-out for his troubled building, 666 Fifth Avenue. The clock was ticking. Charles Kushner needed to find $1.4 billion.
Meanwhile, sources say, Barrack had introduced Jared to MBS, the Saudi crown prince. Jared also knew MBZ, the ruler of UAE.
And Barrack was instrumental in persuading Trump to make the first U.S. state visit to Saudi Arabia, where the topic was supposed to be security in the region and cooperation among the Gulf states.
Qatar noticed that they were excluded from some meetings and, days after this meeting on cooperation—and just weeks after Jared Kushner’s family had been rebuffed by the Qataris—the Saudis and Emiratis led a blockade of Qatar.
They claimed the Qataris were harboring terrorists.

The real problem, sources claim, is that the Qataris are very rich. And they share a gas field with Iran.
Barrack’s indictment mentions that, once the blockade started, Barrack was busy talking to an unnamed WH official about how strong an ally UAE was of the U.S. Barrack needed to do this as part of an effort to stop Trump wanting to end the blockade and reconcile with Qatar.
Things only changed in the spring of 2018 after Saudi’s MBS balked when Trump asked for $4 billion to rebuild Syria, while the Emir of Qatar was far more accommodating. It seems that…money talks.
Within weeks, two things happened: The U.S. withdrew their support of the blockade and Brookfield, a real estate company whose #1 outside investor is Qatar, bailed out the Kushners in a deal that still has real estate moguls rolling their eyes. A 99-year lease paid upfront…
A spokesperson for Brookfield told me at the time that the firm’s CEO had no idea that geo-politically the Qataris needed help from the U.S.
Tom Barrack was always very transparent about his business interests in the Middle East. I was surprised by his arrest yesterday only because so many of Barrack’s activities were in plain sight.
I spoke this morning to a source who had been a senior Trump administration official and asked, “Why do you think Tom Barrack did all of this so openly?”

The source said, “He’s a real estate guy. It’s possible he just didn’t know the rules.”
As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s an accurate reflection of the Trump Administration. And, if Barrack does flip, what will he have to say about any of this?

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More from @VickyPJWard

20 Jul
My sources in NY real estate are asking if the indictment against Tom Barrack is actually about Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) violations or if it’s just another way to get to Trump, if Weisselberg does not talk.
The other speculation is that this is a way to get to Kushner, since Barrack’s dealings were more with Kushner than Trump.
Tom Barrack’s connections are all over the place, and he has long had his name tied with allegations of crony capitalism.
Read 22 tweets
19 Jul
Jeffrey Epstein wanted the world to think he was some amazing money manager for billionaires only. But the story is so much more complicated than that. He was many things: A sexual predator, a con artist, an embezzler, an arms dealer, and part of an intelligence network.
There’s been a lot of focus on Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual crimes. My podcast “Chasing Ghislaine” is not really about that. Instead, it’s about the men—the circle of male power that surrounded Jeffrey Epstein and enabled his sex-trafficking enterprise.
There have been many boldface names associated with Epstein: Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Trump, Prince Andrew, financier Leon Black, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, retail king Les Wexner. These men are why we are still talking about Jeffrey Epstein two years later.
Read 5 tweets
15 Jul
When I was assigned to write about Jeffrey Epstein in 2002, I spoke to him almost daily for several months for my reporting. Our conversations were originally off the record, but we’re releasing them now in the public interest in “Chasing Ghislaine.” audible.com/ghislaine
In re-reading the transcripts, I was struck by his staggering, untempered misogyny. But I could also see now—given all we've learned since 2002—where he had blatantly lied. Some of the lies were so bizarre, they clearly told me something. So I went out and re-reported the story.
I have spent almost 20 years on this story, but I did not do it alone. I want to thank everyone who spoke to me for my original article, for my reporting since then, and for the podcast.
Read 8 tweets
26 Jan
Thank you to @morningmika, @JoeNBC, and @WillieGeist for having me and @Fahrenthold on @Morning_Joe today to talk about the Trump family’s financial future.

A few thoughts:
As @fahrenthold has reported, the Trump business has real financial problems. Banks are running.  washingtonpost.com/politics/trump…
But, as I noted, the Kushners—thanks to Trump’s pardon of Charles Kushner—are now extremely liquid and ARE very bankable. A couple of my sources say the idea of the Kushners buying the Trump assets is now being seriously discussed. They may just strip his name off the properties.
Read 6 tweets
24 Dec 20
Of course Trump was going to pardon Charles Kushner. This was a forgone conclusion.
In Aug 2016, I wrote a piece for @esquire about Jared Kushner that predicted the inevitability of this moment. I said Jared viewed the gold-plated vision of a Trump White House as the ultimate step in a carefully plotted ascent to redemption for his family.esquire.com/news-politics/…
This is hardly the first time that money has bent the ordinary path of American justice. In many ways, the painting over of a family stain has become a rite of dynastic passage in the United States.
Read 5 tweets
29 Sep 20
In KUSHNER INC, I write about how after Trump’s casinos + the Plaza wound up in bankruptcy proceedings in the 90s, the number of blue-chip lenders who would do business with Trump Org dwindled. Its value was no longer as a conventional real estate development biz, but as a brand.
By the time the Trump children joined the family business, it had morphed from a development firm into more of a licensing shop, dependent on global partners.
The path to success for the Trump kids in this organization was to bring him a new project, of which they could retain ownership. They did not write memos or budgets or project costs. They did not even keep files.
Read 5 tweets

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