Federal prosecutors have charged Trump’s former advisor Tom Barrack with illegally acting on behalf of the Arab Emirates to influence US foreign policy
US federal prosecutors have charged Trump’s former advisor Tom Barrack for lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. The federal prosecutors believe Barrack made efforts to influence foreign policy positions during Trump’s presidential campaign and time in office.
The court has charged him with seven counts in total, including “acting as an agent of the UAE”. Aside from foreign lobbying, he was also charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal law enforcement agents.
A spokesperson for Barrack said he will plead not guilty.
“I nailed it… for the home team”
US officials say Barrack both directly and indirectly contacted senior leaders within the UAE between April 2016 and April 2018. He spent this time promoting its foreign policy agenda in the US while acting as chairman of Trump’s Inaugural Committee.
During 2016, he praised the UAE in a speech about US energy policy. He then sent a draft of the speech to Alshahhi to give to UAE officials. In both 2016 and 2017, the UAE sent all three men talking points for Barrack’s TV appearances.
Following one appearance, Barrack emailed Alshahhi, “I nailed it. . . for the home team,” referring not to the United States but to the UAE.
Two others were also charged for using Barrack’s position to advance the interests of the UAE
The court also found Matthew Grimes and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, guilty.
Alshahhi is a UAE national. The prosecutors say he used Barrack’s status as a senior adviser to Trump to “advance the interests of the UAE”. Officials are yet to arrest Alshahhi, who fled the US in 2018.
Travel bubble bursts between Australia and NZ
New Zealand has suspended its travel bubble with Australia
The nation has halted its travel bubble arrangements for at least eight weeks as Australia continues to battle against the delta variant of COVID-19.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fronted the media and stated that “the Delta variant has materially changed the risk profile”.
From 11:59pm tonight, Australians will be unable to travel to New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight
This restriction will be in place for at least the next eight weeks.
The trans-tasman route is already closed to travellers flying into New Zealand from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as those states battle COVID-19 outbreaks.
Constant disruption to trans-Tasman travel bubble
Flights to New Zealand inside the bubble have been paused and restarted as different Australian states have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks.
“For the next seven days, we will have managed return flights for New Zealanders from all states and territories.
“National emergency” – Sydney in crisis as COVID cases rise
Sydney has declared a national emergency as COVID-19 cases rise across the Australian city
Sydney and the state of New South Wales is calling on the Australian Federal Government to “refocus the national vaccination strategy”.
As the delta variant of the virus spreads throughout the city, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her government have declared a national emergency.
New South Wales Government officials say that the spreading of the virus is “threatening the safety of other states.”
They’ve encouraged people in virus-ravaged south-western and western Sydney to urgently “do their duty” and get vaccinated against coronavirus.
The Premier has stressed the importance of getting vaccinated as NSW records its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases today.
Meanwhile, Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant says Australia urgently needs to “correct the mythology about AstraZeneca”.
“There is no doubt that if we want to contain this virus and stop it seeping out to other parts of Greater Sydney, stop it impacting our freedom and our economy, but also stop it spreading to other states, we need to have a discussion about refocusing the national vaccination strategy,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
The issue will be addressed at today’s National Cabinet, she said.
At least 53 of today’s NSW cases were infectious in the community
Is a $52 billion boost enough to end a global chip shortage?
As the race to combat the global chip shortage continues the Biden administration is big to end the crisis
US President Joe Biden is preparing to spend $52 billion to boost the worsening shortage of semiconductor chips.
The White House is still waiting for congressional approval on the big spend but is pushing ahead with plans of how to invest the money wisely.
The Commerce Secretary says America “needs to incentivise the manufacturing of chips” if the country wants the crisis to end.
She added that officials have been speaking with the impacted industries on a daily basis which has helped address the shortage from the ground up.
Whilst there have been reports that the sector is gradually improving, but the car manufacturing sector may still be impacted by delays.
Biden recently called for Semiconductor chips to be produced locally in the US, but this company is ignoring his plea.
Construction will begin on the $4 billion Asian plant in 2023. This goes against the Biden administration’s wishes to return chip manufacturing to American soil.
The company will join rivals including ‘Samsung’ and ‘Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’ which are all also trying to address the current chip shortage.
The President has been under increasing pressure to secure a constant supply of this crucial tech that is used in so many modern devices.
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