This past Monday, the criminal trial of Thomas Barrack began in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. Barrack, who served as an informal advisor to the 2016 Trump campaign and then as chair of Trump's inaugural committee, is alleged to have acted as a foreign agent of the United Arab Emirates. According to the indictment, Barrack acted as a back channel for the UAE to influence U.S. foreign policy.
Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett sat down with Alex Iftimie, a partner at the law firm Morrison Foerster, and a former Department of Justice attorney specializing in national security matters, including the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, and related statutes. They discussed the case against Barrack, the significance of the charges to broader enforcement strategy, and why foreign influence matters for U.S. national security.