Neither Insignificant Nor Unexpected

#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP Photo)

The lede from Associated Press is not insignificant, but it is also expected:

Investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller have interviewed one of President Donald Trump’s closest friends and confidants, California real estate investor Tom Barrack, The Associated Press has learned.

Barrack was interviewed as part of the federal investigation of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations . . . .

. . . .One of the people who spoke to AP said the questioning focused entirely on two officials from Trump’s campaign who have been indicted by Mueller: Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s longtime deputy, Rick Gates. Gates agreed to plead guilty to federal conspiracy and false-statement charges in February and began cooperating with investigators.

This person said Barrack was interviewed “months ago” and was asked a few questions about Gates’ work on Trump’s inaugural committee, which Barrack chaired, and but there were no questions about the money raised by that committee.

A second person with knowledge of the Barrack interview said the questioning was broader and did include financial matters about the campaign, the transition and Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

If the question is what Barrack’s interview means in the larger scheme, the fact of the interview itself is expected in part because of his proximity to candidate- and then President Trump, but also for his connection to convicted felon Rick Gates, which includes helping him gain access to the White House. And if the unsurprising news is not insignificant, we need only stick the proverbial pin and stay tuned.

Tom Barrack (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP Photo)If we really need tinfoil notes to wrap up scattered potsherds, watch for Barrack’s name getting woven into narratives involving Brad Parscale, Elliott Broidy, or George Nader, at least, and means China, Qatar, Russia, Saudia Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates all orbit the question of where this interview fits into the grand tale of the Trump debacle.

In the end it is probably smartest to simply watch, listen, and learn as the story plays out. Of course investigators wanted to talk to Barrack, and of course this was months ago. The tempting question, of course, is what it all means; AP closes the report noting, “few witnesses have as much insight into the president’s lengthy business career and all facets of his campaign and administration as Barrack”.


Image notes: Top — Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP Photo)  Right Tom Barrack (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

LoBianco, Tom, Jonathan Lemire, and Alan Suderman. “Mueller team questions Trump friend Tom Barrack”. Associated Press. 5 May 2018.

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