As candidate Donald Trump prepared for an important energy speech during the 2016 campaign, one of his closest aides delivered a preface to high-ranking representatives of the United Arab Emirates – an unorthodox move that caught the attention of federal investigators and text messages revealed in a House Oversight Committee investigation.
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"The Trump Administration Is Virtually Wiped Out The Borders That Normally Separate Government Policy from Corporate and International Interests," says a report by House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat who investigated the backward channel dealings between certain Trump employees and Middle East countries.
Two weeks before Trump spoke about energy policy, Thomas Barrack, a California investment tycoon with extensive Middle East contacts who later helped monitor Trump's inauguration, hired a former business associate in the United Arab Emirates a preliminary copy of the candidate's planned remarks. The employee then told Barrack that he had shared them with representatives of the UAE and the Saudi government. Afterwards, with the help of Trump's former campaign director Paul Manafort, Barrack arranged for the speech requested by the UAE officials to be added to the speech.
"This is the most likely final version of the speech. It has the language you want, "Manafort confirmed in an e-mail to Barrack on the day of the speech, according to the report. Manafort has since been imprisoned for financial crimes that have nothing to do with his campaign work.
The White House declined to comment.
The House investigators state in their report that none of the documents they collect indicate "whether Trump knew that his speech had been distributed to foreign officials in the Middle East, or received feedback from Mr. Barrack and Mr. Manafort were . "
Manafort lawyers refused to comment when they reached Monday.
The back channel exchange not only attracted the attention of House of Representatives investigators, but also of prosecutors, according to a late-night New York Times report reporting business for the first time.
ABC News has received copies of more detailed e-mails and copy of House of Representatives investigators who have collected more than 60,000 documents indicating that Trump aides have mixed private interests and political decisions before and after taking office. The resulting investigative report, released Monday, presents events surrounding the 201