Tom Barrack and Donald Trump have been pals and confidants for more than thirty years, for instance, the two men are so close that Barrack comforted Trump during the funeral of his father, Fred.
Previous and Current White House officials say the intimate relationship between the President and the wealthy California investor has shattered so badly that the two no longer speak.
Prosecutors are investigating Barrack’s role as chairman of the President’s 2017 inauguration fund, the key issue driving the two men apart. Trump was immensely upset to hear and read the reports about the role Barrack took in allegedly making it simple for some immigrants and others to try to pay capital to get access to Trump and his administration and whether some of the inauguration funds were not put to the use intended for.
Barrack helped sell him the Plaza Hotel in New York for almost $410 million, in the late 1980s. Barrack is now the current CEO and official chairman of the real estate and private investment firm Colony Capital. In 1988 Trump bought out a full-page ad in New York Magazine saying the purchase was “not economic” and that “I can never explain the amount I spent.”
Barrack has said in discussions that he grew close to Trump. Mostly during big and important moments in their life, such as divorces and the birth of their children. As an influential fundraiser for the 2016 campaign, he spoke kindly of his mate at the convention in Ohio. He praised him by saying, amongst other things, that the New York real estate lord had played him like a piano in business dealings.
In the early days of the government, the newly elected President often leaned on his longtime friend for advice and encouragement. Trump and Barrack would sometimes speak various times a day. According to the superior administration official, Trump often reached out to Barrack late at night to inquire advice and to catch up on each other’s lives. Trump has spoken highly of Barrack’s business insight over the years. He stated in 2005 that “Tom has an astonishing image of the future, an ability to see what’s going to follow that no one else can match.”
But that help has not constantly been the best. The Mueller report stated that Barrack suggested Trump hire his old friend Paul Manafort. Manafort was initially being brought onto the campaign to smooth Trump’s path at the Republican convention. Manafort went on to consider a more significant position in the campaign after the firing of Corey Lewandowski ( campaign manager). Only to be dismissed himself amid media investigation of his company dealings in Ukraine and later to be charged for those activities. And as other prosecutors have investigated into Barrack’s handling of the inauguration fund, Trump has privately gone bitter on his mentor.
In July, the New York Times wrote that the public honor unit of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn was reviewing whether Barrack broke laws requiring lobbyists to disclose when they work for foreign affairs, though he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. In particular, the Times reported, prosecutors were investigating whether the inauguration let immigrants coming from the Middle East use straw contributors to donate to the inauguration.
Trump was shocked to learn outside, according to an elderly administration official, that the inaugural organization disbursed $26 million to a New York social planners firm, who was previously close to First Lady Melania Trump. The firm of Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. Wolkoff was a senior adviser to Melania in the White House until early last year. Only $500,000 of the money went to Wolkoff herself.
Trump’s dispute with Barrack may not be permanent; the President has been recognized to turn on allies and friends, only to bring them back into the circle months or years after. But for now, it’s obvious the violation is serious and deep. The White House rejected to discuss on the split. But a spokesperson for Barrack, Owen Blicksilver, shoved back on the notion that the two are no longer close.
Still, Barrack has cut back his appearance in Washington in the last six months and “has not been around” D.C. much lately, although he went to a dinner that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently hosted for Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Barrack also managed to regularly attend dinners or parties hosted by Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary but has not been to one recently. The harsh limelight goes well past the inauguration as Barrack, a Lebanese-American who is friendly with several Middle East rulers, has been accused of pushing his own business interests in his dealings with the President.
A paper newly published by Democrats on the House supervision and Reform Committee revealed that Barrack worked with well-connected UAE businessman Rashid Al-Malik to make proposals for an energy speech Trump gave in 2016 to be more pleasant toward the Middle East and recommended Manafort to get Trump to discuss Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
He also supposedly pushed the government to give Saudi Arabia access to delicate nuclear technology while at the same time trying to benefit from a potential deal. Limiting experts have denied such a deal because they worried that it would make it much more accessible for Saudi Arabia to get a nuclear bomb to compete with Iran.
Barrack’s spokesperson said that Barrack has fully complied with the investigation and that his counsel called out to the Justice Department, which the spokesman said had verified that it had no further questions for Barrack. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office refused to comment. Robert Mueller’s Former special counsel team of inspectors also asked questions about Barrack as part of his probe into Trump’s contacts with Russia, which did not go overlooked inside the White House.
Another point of interference in Trump’s relationship with Barrack is that he kept Gates, who presented guilty to two charges and became a star witness for Mueller, on his firm Colony NorthStar’s payroll at a rate of $20,000 per month. Up until the second when Gates was accused of money laundering and breaking foreign lobbying and tax laws.
In Trump’s early presidency, Barrack summoned Gates to the White House various times and also kept paying him even after Trump pressed his friend to dismiss Gates because he was “bad luck” and “a bad penny” who wouldn’t go away, according to the superior administration official. Gates disclosed during Manafort’s hearing last summer that he might have stolen capital from the inaugural board, which he helped run. Gates and his lawyer did not reply to inquiries for comment. Several references said Trump’s falling out with Barrack, who has not yet distributed to Trump’s re-election campaign, began way before the damaging news about the inaugural board.
Barrack has also made some crucial remarks about Trump’s performance in office and stated in Trump’s first year that his mate was “better than this,” referring to Trump’s speech toward Muslims and immigrants. And that he was “stunned” and “shocked” by some of the statements.
According to another person close to Trump, at the start of Trumps presidency the president “got tired” of Barrack “because he felt that Tom was checking in all the time and he was a little bewildered by the fact that Tom wanted to be special envoy to the Middle East and then special envoy in South America and then he was going to be the ambassador to Argentina and then he didn’t want that and then he was going to be ambassador to Mexico.