Late last week Middle East Eye published the bombshell contents of newly leaked emails which confirm that “the relationship between the Emiratis and the president’s [Trump’s] inner circle was cemented earlier than previously thought.” And this follows previous emails which we’ve reported on here.
The new batch of emails shed further light on UAE and Saudi efforts to penetrate the Republican platform in 2016, which the emails show “was altered to remove a call for the publication of 28 pages of allegedly incriminating documents from the 9/11 inquiry” — and attempts to prevent Trump from making any remarks that could potentially embarrass Saudi Arabia, specifically (as one email reads) “the issue of her [Hillary Clinton] taking Saudi Arabian money”.
Though the 28 pages were ultimately released in redacted form just days after the Republican platform battle, the new emails provide a deeper glimpse into how the Saudis are constantly maneuvering to keep the American public in the dark concerning their role in 9/11, as the opening lines of the 28 pages suggest: “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government…”
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According to leaked emails obtained by Middle East Eye, an unnamed Republican Party figure orchestrated the defeat of a proposed 2016 GOP plank calling for the declassification of 28 pages on Saudi government links to the 9/11 plotters.
That individual then notified Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort of the plank’s defeat and claimed credit for providing instructions to “our political team” to kill it.
Manafort forwarded the news to Tom Barrack—Trump’s billionaire friend, surrogate and fundraiser—who notified Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States.
The behind-the-scenes communications seem to suggest that Trump campaign officials and associates, eager to strengthen their relationships with Gulf officials, supported efforts to thwart the release of the 28 pages even though candidate Trump had spoken favorably of it.
Months before the Republican convention intrigue, Trump implied he would release the 28 pages if elected, and suggested they could reveal Saudi guilt for 9/11.
At a February 2016 campaign event, Trump said, “It wasn’t the Iraqis that knocked down the World Trade Center. We went after Iraq, we decimated the country, Iran’s taking over…but it wasn’t the Iraqis, you will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center, because they have papers in there that are very secret, you may find it’s the Saudis, okay? But you will find out.”
“Really confidential but important. Please don’t distribute.”
During proceedings of the platform committee at the July 2016 Republican national convention, the national security subcommittee approved a plank urging the release of the 28 pages. However, it was rejected when it went before the full platform committee.
Soon after, a Republican party source, whose name is not known, sent a self-aggrandizing email to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. In part, it read:
“Paul. Something you can pass along to your friend Tom Barrack. I made certain that language that was anti the Saudi Royal Family was removed from the platform. It was inserted by AIPAC lobbyists and would have been a part of the 2016 Platform. When I saw the amendment that was passed in the subcommittee, I gave instructions to our political team to remove the language in the full committee.”
The full email follows this story. Middle East Eye concluded that “Paul” is Paul Manafort via other context in the leaked email conversations.
After receiving news of the plank’s defeat from Manafort, Barrack—who later chaired Trump’s inauguration committee—forwarded it to al-Otaiba, calling it “really confidential but important. Please don’t distribute.”
Since the platform proceedings were carried live by CSPAN, Barrack’s request for confidentiality seems intended to conceal Manafort and Barrack’s support of the plank’s demise, as they quietly worked to curry favor with the Saudi-aligned UAE and the kingdom itself.
Manafort, who now stands famously indicted for a variety of charges that include obstruction of justice, conspiracy to launder money, making false statements, witness tampering and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, was once a registered agent of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with many other regimes known for violating human rights.
“The emails will be of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has widened the scope of his inquiry into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election to include whether the Emiratis and Saudis funneled payments to Trump’s election campaign,” writes Hearst.