“They loved it so much! This is great,” responded an Emirati intermediary, Rashid al-Malik, who was indicted along with Mr. Barrack but has remained outside the United States.
As the speech was revised, Mr. Barrack worked closely with campaign officials to ensure the remarks retained a favorable if less explicit reference to Persian Gulf allies. The Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, an old friend whom Mr. Barrack had recommended for the job, asked him in an email for “an insert that works for our friends” — referring to the Emiratis — and afterward a senior Emirati official gratefully emailed Mr. Barrack that “everybody here are very happy with the results.”
During the Republican convention, the updated indictment said, Mr. Barrack again worked with Mr. Manafort to tailor certain passages of the Republican platform according to Emirati input. “Can be much more expansive than what we did in the speech,” Mr. Manafort wrote in an email to Mr. Barrack, “based on what you hear from your friends.”
In November 2016, during the transition, Mr. Barrack then worked with several senior Emirati officials to arrange a phone call with President-elect Trump for Sheikh Mohammed, the indictment said. “It’s done, great call,” Mr. Malik wrote in thanks to Mr. Barrack’s aide.
The Trump Investigations
When Mr. Barrack was named chairman of the Trump inauguration, the indictment said, he agreed to a text message from Mr. Malik asking to “take care of the ME side,” referring to the Middle East, because that would “position us well.”
The wealthy gulf nations of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar for years have sought to influence American politics and society through large donations to universities and think tanks, and through hiring armies of lobbyists to help steer bills in Congress.
During the Trump years, they intensified efforts to gain access to Mr. Trump and some of his top aides, many of whom had little foreign policy experience and whom gulf leaders viewed as particularly susceptible to influence.