So. Much. More To the Tom Barrack Scandal: Just Wait For It

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Tom Barrack, private equity real estate investor and founder, chairman, and CEO of Colony Capital, at his company offices in downtown Los Angeles, California on Friday, September 29, 2... LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Tom Barrack, private equity real estate investor and founder, chairman, and CEO of Colony Capital, at his company offices in downtown Los Angeles, California on Friday, September 29, 2017. (Photo by Brinson+Banks) MORE LESS

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things.

Barrack Allegedly Came Up Big For UAE

Okay, let’s jump right into the Tom Barrack scandal. We’ll break it into two parts: key takeaways from the unsealing of the case + what the implications might be. Still a lot to unpack on this story.

Key takeaways from the criminal filings:

  • Trump Role? President-elect Trump was directly touched by the scandal, with Barrack allegedly succeeding in arranging calls between Trump and UAE officials. Trump is actually portrayed by prosecutors as a victim, betrayed by his friend and confidante Barrack (more on this in a moment).
  • Hubris Kills: Barrack voluntarily talked to investigators and then allegedly lied to them, leading to a whole set of charges in addition to the violations of FARA.
  • Curious Timing: The charged conduct took place from 2016-18. Barrack allegedly lied to investigators in an interview in June 2019. It took more than two years after that for an indictment. Was this case bottled up in the Trump Justice Department?

How Far Does the Barrack Scandal Reach?

  • Rotten To The Core: The contours of the case suggest a thorough and deep corruption of U.S. foreign policy under Trump. Duh, I know.
  • So THAT Explains It: The scandal potentially sheds new light on previously inexplicable Trump administration policy toward UAE, Saudi, and Qatar–and on other countries’ behavior toward the U.S. It doesn’t take long for word to get around that you gotta pay to play.
  • Who Played Whom? Was Trump really a victim of Barrack, as prosecutors say? A pro-UAE tilt and a thumb on the scale for its close ally Saudi Arabia was the order of the day in the Trump administration, and that involved a lot of people in the Trump orbit across an array of issues. Just one example:

Must Read

Buzzfeed has the deepest of dives on the making of the case against the alleged plotters to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Danger, Danger, Danger!

Where Trump voters stand on Jan. 6, according to a new CBS News poll:

Armed And Doofus

A DEA special agent has been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection:

  • Mark Ibrahim didn’t enter the Capitol, but he did allegedly trespass on the grounds of the building and later lied about it.
  • He was showing off his government-issued gun and badge to protestors and falsely claiming he was there to help the FBI, prosecutors alleged.
  • Ibrahim was there to promote a podcast and cigar brand he was planning to launch after leaving the DEA, according to a friend.

Caught On Tape

A white Alabama city councilman dropped the N-word in a recorded public meeting: “Do we have a house n—- in here? Do we? Do we?”

  • The Tarrant City councilman has a contentious relationship with the city’s first Black mayor.
  • The slur was directed toward a Black city councilwoman, who reportedly left the council chamber in tears.

Did Everyone Get The Same Memo?

A pro-vaccine sea change among conservative and Trumpian media types and electeds happened virtually overnight. Is there a giant class action case in the works I don’t know about that everyone is trying to get ahead of?

Largest One-Year Decline Since WWII

COVID caused life expectancy in the U.S. to drop in 2020 by a year and a half.


While the rest of the world struggles to amass COVID vaccine supplies, vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. means millions of unused doses will soon expire.

Dealing With A Different Beast

“Why Delta Has Doctors Worried”

Is The J&J Vaccine Enough?

I’m a one-jab guy, so I’m keeping a close eye on reports like this and this.

Trustbusting On The Agenda

Biden to nominate progressive fave and Google critic Jonathan Kanter as head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Fake Crisis Alert!

Republicans are gearing up to manufacture another debt ceiling crisis:

  • “I can’t imagine there will be a single Republican voting to raise the debt ceiling after what we’ve been experiencing,” Mitch McConnell told Punchbowl last night.
  • Steve Benen has the sordid history of Republican brinksmanship on the debt ceiling.

Forever Wars

In advance of his new book, TPM alum Spencer Ackerman is launching a journalism experiment “guided by a socialist perspective that demands the destruction of the War on Terror, U.S. global hegemony, and the American Exceptionalism that created and sustains them.”

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