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Tue Feb 12, 2019, 02:23 PM

Washington awash in foreign money and shady lobbyists


At 3:45 p.m. on October 6th, 2017, an unassuming man in his early sixties with a low, raspy voice and a thin, wide smile arrived at the White House. He had been here before, in the George W. Bush years, when he was one of the most sought-after fundraisers in the Republican Party. But a scandal had derailed his life, and afterward he had disappeared from politics. In early 2016, the opportunity arose to make his return. The man had helped Donald J. Trump’s long-shot campaign raise millions of dollars, and he could rightly say he played a role in the most improbable presidential victory in American history. Now, Elliott Broidy had come to deliver an urgent message. After a brief visit with Jared Kushner, he was summoned to meet the president in the Oval Office.

Broidy told Trump about a recent trip he’d taken to the United Arab Emirates, the small but wealthy Persian Gulf nation, on behalf of a defense-contracting company he owned. Broidy raved about the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s de facto leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, known as MBZ, whom he had met with while in the Emirates. He said that MBZ and Mohammed bin Salman, the young crown prince of Saudi Arabia, were creating an all-Muslim counterterrorism force made up of 5,000 Arab soldiers to fight against the Taliban and ISIS. With the help of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Broidy said, his company would assist the UAE and Saudi Arabia to train and assist those pan-Arab fighters ...

Trump smiled and nodded. He had reason to champion Broidy’s cause. Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia had long been loyal customers of his. The Saudis “buy all sorts of my stuff,” Trump said in 2015, and a massive Trump-branded golf course had recently opened in Dubai, in the UAE. The meeting was nearing its end, but the president had one last question for Broidy: What did he think of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson? Tillerson, the former Exxon-Mobil CEO, had shown support for the Qataris. In private, Broidy had seethed at Tillerson, calling him “a tower of Jello.” Broidy told Trump that Tillerson was “performing poorly” and should be fired at a “politically convenient time” ...

DEPENDING ON where you stood, Trump’s election posed either an existential threat to the American experiment or the business opportunity of a lifetime. The thousands of lawyers, former congressional staffers and retired lawmakers who ply their trade as lobbyists had spent two years preparing for a Clinton administration. “If you went around town and told these lobbying firms you supported Trump, it was like a hate crime,” says Tom Davis, a former lobbyist and onetime Virginia congressman. “Trump threw out the book. He brought in a whole new crowd. The players changed, and the rules changed” ...


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Reply Washington awash in foreign money and shady lobbyists (Original post)
struggle4progress Feb 2019 OP
guillaumeb Feb 2019 #1

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 02:33 PM

1. Follow the money.

It always reveals far more than words.

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