The page you are looking for is temporarily unavailable.
Please try again later

US News Who Is Behind Trump’s Links to Arab Princes? A Billionaire Friend

17:40  13 june  2018
17:40  13 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

Airline boss sorry for woman job 'joke'

  Airline boss sorry for woman job 'joke' The chief executive of Qatar Airways has apologised for saying a woman could not do his job, saying it was "just a joke".Akbar al Baker made his remark in Sydney on Tuesday, shortly after he was appointed chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at its annual meeting.

The billionaire financier Tom Barrack was caught in a bind. “Confusion about your friend Donald Trump is VERY high,” Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba of the United Arab Emirates emailed back when Mr. Barrack tried to introduce the candidate, in a message not previously reported.

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia ’ s Al-Waleed bin Talal — the billionaire tycoon arrested in an anti-graft In line with his reputation as a lover of the press, Forbes said it was the prince himself who had first contacted the magazine. Amir and I have put everything behind us, we’re best friends : Faryal Makhdoom.

The financier Tom Barrack told the 2016 Republican National Convention that Donald J. Trump “played me like a Steinway piano” in the 1988 deal that began their friendship. © Shawn Thew/EPA, via Shutterstock The financier Tom Barrack told the 2016 Republican National Convention that Donald J. Trump “played me like a Steinway piano” in the 1988 deal that began their friendship.

The billionaire financier Tom Barrack was caught in a bind.

In April 2016, his close friend Donald J. Trump was about to clinch the Republican presidential nomination. But Mr. Trump’s outspoken hostility to Muslims — epitomized by his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants — was offending the Persian Gulf princes Mr. Barrack had depended on for decades as investors and buyers.

a group of people posing for the camera: Mr. Trump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2017, for an Arab summit meeting. “It all started with you and JK and I,” Mr. Barrack wrote in a congratulatory email to the Emirati ambassador about the meeting; the initials refer to Jared Kushner. © Stephen Crowley/The New York Times Mr. Trump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2017, for an Arab summit meeting. “It all started with you and JK and I,” Mr. Barrack wrote in a congratulatory email to the Emirati ambassador about the meeting; the initials refer to Jared Kushner.

Trump leaves G7 early for 'mission of peace' with Kim

  Trump leaves G7 early for 'mission of peace' with Kim Donald Trump declared that he was on a "mission of peace" before leaving the G7 summit early to meet Kim Jong Un in Singapore. He told reporters he would "know within a minute" whether Mr Kim was serious about giving up his nuclear weapons, adding that he would not prolong talks if he sensed otherwise.The US leader boarded a plane from Quebec on Saturday ahead of the highly anticipated meeting with the North Korean leader on Tuesday, leaving G7 leaders early and missing environmental talks.

Those descriptions also work for the Trump political brand, as the president was able to fashion himself in last year' s presidential election as a billionaire for the people. On Saturday, MBS, who is Saudi Arabia ' s heir to the throne, oversaw a wave of arrests that took down 11 princes , military officers

Billionaire boys were all the rage at the start of this decade. Young men with last names like Zuckerberg, Thiel, Dorsey and Kushner became It should therefore come as no surprise that Trump , who shares the young crown prince ’ s antipathy toward Iran, has commented favorably on the recent

Sign Up For the Morning Briefing Newsletter

“Confusion about your friend Donald Trump is VERY high,” Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba of the United Arab Emirates emailed back when Mr. Barrack tried to introduce the candidate, in a message not previously reported. Mr. Trump’s image, the ambassador warned, “has many people extremely worried.”

Not deterred, Mr. Barrack, a longtime friend who had done business with the ambassador, assured him that Mr. Trump understood the Persian Gulf perspective. “He also has joint ventures in the U.A.E.!” Mr. Barrack wrote in an email on April 26.

MSN has launched a campaign to tackle loneliness, which affects 9 million across all age groups and walks of life in the UK. Discover more on this 'silent epidemic': Please donate now

Trump: I'll know if Kim is serious within a minute

  Trump: I'll know if Kim is serious within a minute Donald Trump said he is on a "mission of peace" before leaving the G7 summit for Singapore to meet Kim Jong Un. He told reporters he would "know within a minute" whether Mr Kim is serious about giving up his nuclear weapons, adding that he would not prolong talks if he sensed otherwise.The US leader boarded a plane from Quebec on Saturday ahead of the highly-anticipated meeting with the North Korean leader on Tuesday, leaving G7 leaders early and missing environmental talks.

The billionaire prince , who owns shares in major US companies like Apple and Citigroup, has The President’s detractors have been quick to link Bin Talal’s arrest to a “secret trip” by Trump ’ s son-in-law Please share stories and encourage your friends to sign up for our daily email blast so they are

Among the 11 Saudi princes arrested under charges of corruption today is Alwaleed Bin Talal, the billionaire businessman. Alwaleed Bin Talal is the same Saudi prince , current US President Donald Trump had a Twitter spat with back in 2016.

The emails were the beginning of Mr. Trump’s improbable transformation from a candidate who campaigned against Muslims to a president celebrated in the royal courts of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi as perhaps the best friend in the White House that their rulers have ever had. It is a shift that testifies not only to Mr. Trump’s special flexibility, but also to Mr. Barrack’s unique place in the Trump world, at once a fellow tycoon and a flattering courtier, a confidant and a power broker.

a group of people sitting at a table: Yousef al-Otaiba, the Emirati ambassador to the United States, with the House speaker, Paul Ryan, center, in Abu Dhabi in January. © Jon Gambrell/Associated Press Yousef al-Otaiba, the Emirati ambassador to the United States, with the House speaker, Paul Ryan, center, in Abu Dhabi in January.

During the Trump campaign, Mr. Barrack was a top fund-raiser and trusted gatekeeper who opened communications with the Emiratis and Saudis, recommended that the candidate bring on Paul Manafort as campaign manager — and then tried to arrange a secret meeting between Mr. Manafort and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Barrack was later named chairman of Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee.

What the papers say – June 11

  What the papers say – June 11 Donald Trump’s G7 outburst leads many of the papers.The Times reports that Donald Trump’s relations with his European allies “sank to a new low” as he arrived in Singapore for talks with Kim Jong Un.

Saudi prince behind sweep of arrests is known as young and brash, but has Trump ' s ear. A link has been sent to your friend 's email address. More: Billionaire prince among dozens arrested in Saudi sweep. More: Saudi Arabia intercepts Yemen missile targeting main airport.

LONDON — Saudi Arabia announced the arrest Saturday night of prominent billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Related Links . The prince was part of a group of investors who bought control of the Plaza Hotel in New York from Trump , and he also bought an expensive yacht from him as well.

But Mr. Manafort has since been indicted by the special prosecutor investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election. 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.

A spokesman for Mr. Barrack said he has been advised he is not a target of the special prosecutor. Investigators interviewed him in December but asked questions almost exclusively about Mr. Manafort and his associate Rick Gates, said a person familiar with the questioning.

John F. Kelly, Gary Cohn posing for a photo: Jared Kushner, right, during Mr. Trump’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the Oval Office in March. © Doug Mills/The New York Times Jared Kushner, right, during Mr. Trump’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the Oval Office in March.

Mr. Barrack has steered clear of any formal role in the administration; he has said he rebuffed offers to become treasury secretary or ambassador to Mexico. (He sought a role as a special envoy for Middle East economic development, but the idea never gained traction in the White House.)

Weeping Dennis Rodman praises Trump's meeting with friend Kim Jong Un, blasts Obama for ignoring him

  Weeping Dennis Rodman praises Trump's meeting with friend Kim Jong Un, blasts Obama for ignoring him Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star and longtime friend of Kim Jong Un who has visited North Korea several times, broke down in tears during a televised interview as President Trump and Kim met alone in a hotel on Sentosa Island.In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo that quickly became emotionally charged, Rodman, wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat, blasted former President Barack Obama for not taking the North Korean leader seriously.

Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal arrives at the Elysee palace in Paris, France, Sept. A billionaire who is known throughout the financial world has been held in detention — for two months — by Saudi Arabian authorities. Alwaleed is friends with Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch, and last

Saudi Arabia ’ s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was arrested on Saturday night alongside at least 10 other princes and several government ministers and former ministers. Thousands of people like her are still behind bars.

Instead, he has continued making money, as he has for decades, working with the same Persian Gulf contacts he introduced two years ago to Mr. Trump. Mr. Barrack’s company, known as Colony NorthStar since a merger last year, has raised more than $7 billion in investments since Mr. Trump won the nomination, and 24 percent of that money has come from the Persian Gulf — all from either the U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia, according to an executive familiar with the figures. Colony NorthStar has not disclosed the investors in its funds.

Mr. Barrack’s email correspondence with Ambassador Otaiba, which has not previously been reported, was provided to The New York Times by an anonymous group critical of Emirati foreign policy, and it illustrates the formative role Mr. Barrack played as a matchmaker between Mr. Trump and the Persian Gulf princes.

a group of people walking on a brick building: Paul Manafort, center, who became chairman of the Trump campaign after a recommendation from Mr. Barrack, has pleaded not guilty to charges of financial fraud and lying to federal investigators. © Al Drago for The New York Times Paul Manafort, center, who became chairman of the Trump campaign after a recommendation from Mr. Barrack, has pleaded not guilty to charges of financial fraud and lying to federal investigators.

Mr. Barrack’s representatives did not dispute the authenticity of the emails. His spokesman said in a statement that Mr. Barrack “sees his business in the Middle East as a way to help political dialogue and understanding, not the other way around, and he does so through relationships that span as far back as the reign of even some of the grandfathers of the current regional rulers.”

Trump Fires Back at Robert De Niro: ‘A Very Low IQ Individual’

  Trump Fires Back at Robert De Niro: ‘A Very Low IQ Individual’ In response to Robert De Niro’s bleeped out “F– Trump” at the Tony Awards on Sunday night, Trump naturally took to Twitter to jab back. He questioned the “Raging Bull” actor’s intelligence, writing: “Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received to many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be “punch-drunk.

I'm pretty sure this Crown Prince is also the same guy who was behind the current Yemen War. link . a reply to: interupt42. Trump is friendly by nature. But strikes back with trice the force when attacked.

Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Is One Of The Arrested Men. Trump has been cordial with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since becoming president and today Trump phoned King Salman Chinese pedestrians who stare at their mobile phones are known as the heads-down tribe.

But having the ear of the president, say other executives and former diplomats who work in the Gulf, has only enhanced Mr. Barrack’s stature in the region.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20:  (L-R) Tom Barrack, Miriam Adelson and Sheldon Adelson greet U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) © Getty WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: (L-R) Tom Barrack, Miriam Adelson and Sheldon Adelson greet U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“He is the only person I know who the president speaks to as a peer,” said Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative who has known both men for decades. “Barrack is to Trump as Bebe Rebozo was to Nixon, which is the best friend,” Mr. Stone added, referring to the wealthy real-estate developer who is best remembered for his closeness to President Richard Nixon during his impeachment process.

Mr. Barrack’s closeness to Mr. Trump extends to the president’s family. By 2010, he had acquired $70 million of the debt owed by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on his troubled $1.8 billion purchase of a skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York. After a call from Mr. Trump, Mr. Barrack was among a group of lenders who agreed to reduce Mr. Kushner’s obligations to keep him out of bankruptcy.

A month after his first outreach to Ambassador Otaiba, Mr. Barrack wrote again on May 26 to introduce Mr. Kushner, who was preparing for a role as a presidential envoy to the Middle East.

“You will love him and he agrees with our agenda!” Mr. Barrack promised in another email.

Trump Fires Back at Robert De Niro: ‘A Very Low IQ Individual’

  Trump Fires Back at Robert De Niro: ‘A Very Low IQ Individual’ In response to Robert De Niro’s bleeped out “F– Trump” at the Tony Awards on Sunday night, Trump naturally took to Twitter to jab back. He questioned the “Raging Bull” actor’s intelligence, writing: “Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received to many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be “punch-drunk.

The arrest of a billionaire Saudi prince who has equity stakes in many U.S. stocks has caught the attention of Wall Street. A link has been sent to your friend 's email address. Posted! More: Saudi prince behind sweep of arrests is known as young and brash, but has Trump ' s ear.

At his peak, Adnan Khashoggi was a billionaire arms dealer whose lifestyle was so lavish and scandalous it was turned into a best-selling novel. In the 1970 s , Adnan Khashoggi was the first truly famous Arab tycoon; a wheeler-dealer middleman selling arms to Saudi Arabia with massive

a man riding a horse: Mr. Barrack, left, playing polo in the Hamptons in 2017. He owns a 700-acre winery and polo ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley in California. © Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times Mr. Barrack, left, playing polo in the Hamptons in 2017. He owns a 700-acre winery and polo ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley in California.

A Billionaire Buddy

Thomas J. Barrack Jr. and Donald J. Trump first met in the 1980s, and Mr. Barrack got the better of the encounters. He negotiated Mr. Trump into overpaying for two famous assets: a one-fifth stake in the New York department store chain Alexander’s in 1985, and the entire Plaza Hotel in 1988. Mr. Trump paid about $410 million for the Plaza and later lost both properties to creditors.

But Mr. Barrack nonetheless parlayed the deals into a lasting friendship, in part by flattering Mr. Trump about his skill as a negotiator.

“He played me like a Steinway piano,” Mr. Barrack recounted in a speech at the Republican convention.

At 71, Mr. Barrack is the same age as President Trump and shares his fondness for expensive trophies. He owns a 700-acre winery and polo ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley in California, sold a seven-bedroom mansion in Santa Monica last year for $38 million, and snapped up an Aspen ski resort for a reported $18 million just in time for the start of the season.

Yet people who know him well say he still tells new acquaintances that he is truly honored to meet them, cheerfully doling out superlatives like “first-class,” “amazing” and “brilliant.” He invariably tells the story of his own success as a parable about luck and perseverance, never about talent.

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21:  Tom Barrack, former Deputy Interior Undersecretary in the Reagan administration, delivers a speech on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) © Getty CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Tom Barrack, former Deputy Interior Undersecretary in the Reagan administration, delivers a speech on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

He grew up speaking Arabic as the son of Lebanese immigrants to Los Angeles; his mother worked as a secretary and his father ran a grocery store in Culver City. By 1972 he had earned a law degree from the University of Southern California and he interviewed for a job with Nixon’s personal lawyer, Herbert Kalmbach. As Mr. Barrack tells the story, he returned moments later to drop off a book about football that they had discussed, and his gesture won him a job over candidates with more prestigious degrees.

Trump says he was being sarcastic when he said he wants people to treat him like Kim Jong-un

  Trump says he was being sarcastic when he said he wants people to treat him like Kim Jong-un “He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” © Evan Vucci AP Trump then said of Kim’s removal of three top generals was him “firing them – at least. Fired may be a nice word.”Trump later told reporters at the White House that he was being sarcastic.“I’m kidding. You don’t understand sarcasm,” he said.Almost solvedSpeaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump said president Barack Obama told him before he took office that the “most dangerous problem” for the United States was North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

EXCLUSIVE: Top Arab spy and prince ' s conduit to the Kremlin were at the Seychelles meeting Strange meeting: Billionaire Blackwater founder Erik Prince (left) - whose sister is Education White House sources say that Nader became a friend of former chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon while

Dispatched to Saudi Arabia because of his Arabic skills, Mr. Barrack was enlisted as a squash partner for “a local Saudi,” he often says, and the Saudi turned out to be a son of the king and his first big break in business.

In the decades to come, Mr. Barrack cultivated relationships across the region, once befriending an elderly Bedouin on a bus who turned out to be an executive of Aramco, the Saudi oil giant. Mr. Barrack invited his new Bedouin friend to stay with him in Newport Beach, Calif., while seeking a medical treatment, and the favor landed Mr. Barrack an assignment to help Aramco buy 375 Blue Bird school buses, the biggest deal in his life at the time.

President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Associated Press President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

His friends describe him as a concierge to the Persian Gulf royals, helping them buy American or European homes, looking after their children on visits to the West and vacationing with them at his home in the south of France. After his private equity firm bought a resort built by the Aga Khan on 35 miles of the Sardinian coast, Mr. Barrack, a Catholic, opened a halal restaurant to welcome Gulf royals who came by in their yachts.

As a young lawyer, Mr. Barrack once negotiated drilling rights with Ambassador Otaiba’s father, who was then the Emirati oil minister. The emails show that Ambassador Otaiba later worked with Mr. Barrack to help seal a 2009 deal in which his private equity firm sold the L’Ermitage Raffles hotel in Beverly Hills to a joint venture half owned by an Abu Dhabi investment fund for $41 million. Three years later, Ambassador Otaiba invested $1 million in a fund that Mr. Barrack had set up to buy homes on the cheap after the real estate crash, according to the emails.

When Ambassador Otaiba worried about Mr. Trump’s proposed Muslim ban — “even someone as nonjudgmental as I am, had a problem with that statement” — Mr. Barrack wrote back that Mr. Trump was “the king of hyperbole.”

“We can turn him to prudence,” Mr. Barrack wrote in an email. “He needs a few really smart Arab minds to whom he can confer — u r at the top of that list!”

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A Shift In Policy

Mr. Barrack’s efforts began to pay off. Mr. Kushner met Ambassador Otaiba in May 2016. Soon after, Mr. Barrack and Ambassador Otaiba began working to arrange a secret meeting between Mr. Manafort, who became Mr. Trump’s campaign manager that June, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, the dominant adviser to his father, King Salman.

Mr. Barrack had befriended Mr. Manafort in the 1970s, when they were both living in Beirut and working for Saudi interests. Early in 2016, when Mr. Trump faced the prospect of a contested nomination fight at the Republican convention, Mr. Barrack had recommended Mr. Manafort for the job of campaign manager. “The most experienced and lethal of managers” and “a killer,” Mr. Barrack called him in a letter to Mr. Trump.

Prince Mohammed was widely seen as an ambitious protégé of the Emirati rulers, and in an email to the Emirati ambassador, Mr. Barrack presented a Manafort meeting as a prelude to a meeting with Mr. Trump.

“I would like to align in Donald’s mind the connection between the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia which we have already started with Jared,” Mr. Barrack wrote to Ambassador Otaiba on June 21, 2016. “I think it is important that you be the center pin!!”

First lady Melania Trump talks with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef during a ceremony to present The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal to President Donald Trump, at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Associated Press First lady Melania Trump talks with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef during a ceremony to present The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal to President Donald Trump, at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mr. Barrack had competition. The Saudi prince had tried to reach the Trump campaign through “a midlevel person” at the rival private equity giant Blackstone, Mr. Barrack wrote in a follow-up email. “Obviously I would like the meeting to be arranged by you and me rather than Blackstone,” Mr. Barrack told the ambassador.

Mr. Barrack also pitched Mr. Manafort on the value of the Emirati connection.

“Paul is totally programmed on the closeness and alignment of the U.A.E.” and agreed to meet Prince Mohammed “because he is a friend of your boss and the U.A.E.,” Mr. Barrack wrote.

The emails show that the meeting was scheduled for June 24, and that Mr. Manafort sought to meet at the prince’s hotel to avoid the news media. But a spokesman for Mr. Barrack said that Mr. Manafort had canceled at the last minute for scheduling reasons.

Regardless, Mr. Barrack’s advocacy apparently proved effective. The day after the meeting was scheduled, Mr. Barrack forwarded to the ambassador a message from Mr. Manafort with a “clarification” that modulated Mr. Trump’s call for a Muslim ban.

A few weeks later, on July 13, Mr. Barrack informed Ambassador Otaiba that the Trump team had also removed a proposed Republican platform provision inserted to “embarrass” Saudi Arabia. The provision had called for the release of redacted pages about the kingdom in a report on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

When Mr. Trump won in November, Ambassador Otaiba was eager to pull Mr. Barrack even closer. “We have a lot of things that we will have to do together. Together being the operative word,” he wrote in a note congratulating Mr. Barrack on Mr. Trump’s upset victory.

“Let’s do them together,” Mr. Barrack responded.

Ivanka Trump sits next to Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the governor of the Saudi capital Riyadh, during a ceremony where her father US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty Ivanka Trump sits next to Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the governor of the Saudi capital Riyadh, during a ceremony where her father US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Later, Mr. Barrack attended a dinner party at Ambassador Otaiba’s home with other Arab ambassadors and former American officials (the chef was from the world-renowned Inn at Little Washington). Mr. Barrack offered to make introductions in the new administration. “Tell me who is high on your hit list.”

“Thanks to you, I’m in consistent contact with Jared and that has been extremely helpful, for both sides I think,” Ambassador Otaiba wrote Mr. Barrack.

They celebrated again in May 2017, when Mr. Trump made his first foreign trip as president, to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia for an Arab summit meeting.

“It all started with you and JK and I so congratulations on a great beginning,” Mr. Barrack wrote to Ambassador Otaiba, referring to Mr. Kushner by his initials.

Things Go Sour — But Not For Barrack

Two weeks after the Riyadh meeting, Mr. Trump began to align himself firmly with the Saudis and Emiratis against their rivals around the region. When those two states imposed an embargo on their neighbor Qatar — home to a major United States air base — Mr. Trump broke with his own administration to throw his weight squarely behind the Saudis and Emiratis.

He quickly congratulated Prince Mohammed when he assumed the title of crown prince — and commended him again when he summarily detained about 200 businessmen and rivals in a consolidation of his power. This spring, Mr. Trump handed the Saudis and Emiratis an even greater victory by pulling out of the nuclear deal with their nemesis, Iran. In turn, the Gulf monarchs have made only pro forma protests against Mr. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

President Donald Trump listens during a coffee ceremony and presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. © Associated Press President Donald Trump listens during a coffee ceremony and presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh.

Yet many of the connections facilitated by Mr. Barrack have brought liabilities, too.

The linkages between Mr. Trump and the Saudis and Emiratis have come under new scrutiny. A few months after Mr. Barrack arranged the initial introductions, George Nader, a Lebanese American businessman and a top adviser to the de facto ruler of the U.A.E., met with the candidate’s son Donald Trump Jr. at the Trump headquarters in New York. In that Aug. 3, 2016, meeting, Mr. Nader reported that the rulers of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates supported the Trump campaign and offered their assistance, according to people familiar with the discussion.

Such help would have violated campaign laws, and Mr. Nader is now cooperating with the special prosecutor, who is examining that meeting as well as a string of others that followed, according to people familiar the matter.

Mr. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to charges of financial fraud and lying to federal investigators in connection with his work for Russian-backed interests in Ukraine. Mr. Gates, whom Mr. Barrack hired to help run the inauguration and then as a Washington consultant, has pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators and agreed to cooperate with the special prosecutor.

Mr. Kushner has also given testimony to the special prosecutor.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman during a bilateral meeting, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Associated Press President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman during a bilateral meeting, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

But Mr. Barrack’s business is still going strong, in part as a result of his continuing relations with the Saudis and Emiratis. When his company was looking for partners in its $400 million purchase last year of a landmark Los Angeles office tower, One California Plaza, it sold a $70 million stake to an Israeli insurance company. Another $70 million stake went to a state investment company controlled by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, according to a person familiar with the deal.

What is more, Mr. Barrack may profit more directly than ordinary shareholders or executives from the investments he helps bring in, because in some cases, according to Colony NorthStar filings, he earns the extra fees known as carried interest on profits from funds he raised — as if he were a partner in a private equity firm rather than merely a chairman of a publicly traded company.

Friends of Mr. Barrack argue that his long history of business in the Persian Gulf shows that the investments are unrelated to any White House connections.

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Yet one thing has shifted.

Until recently, Mr. Barrack’s most prominent Gulf customers were neither the Emiratis nor the Saudis — but their bitter rivals the Qataris, who bought the film studio Miramax and a Paris soccer team from him, among other marquee properties. During the campaign, Mr. Barrack reached out to the Qataris as well, helping set up a meeting between Mr. Trump and the emir of Qatar in Trump Tower in September 2016.

“Tom wanted Qatar to know he arranged it,” said a person involved in meeting, “and he wanted Trump to know he arranged it.”

But Mr. Trump’s stance on the dispute with Qatar appears to have cast a shadow over Mr. Barrack’s business there: None of the Gulf investments that Mr. Barrack’s company has brought in since Mr. Trump’s nomination have come from Qatar.

“We still consider Tom a friend and partner,” said a senior Qatari official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the White House. “But with all the recent things that have happened we have suspicions about the level of his involvement in this crisis.”

MSN Loneliness Campaign: Who's affected and how is loneliness being tackled? Discover more and please donate now

Trump says he was being sarcastic when he said he wants people to treat him like Kim Jong-un .
“He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” © Evan Vucci AP Trump then said of Kim’s removal of three top generals was him “firing them – at least. Fired may be a nice word.”Trump later told reporters at the White House that he was being sarcastic.“I’m kidding. You don’t understand sarcasm,” he said.Almost solvedSpeaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump said president Barack Obama told him before he took office that the “most dangerous problem” for the United States was North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!