Reports reveal Qatari moves to influence Trump administration
Qatari contacts with Donald Trump’s embattled lawyer Michael Cohen and imminent business deals with the family of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are coming to the surface, along with other channels that Doha has reportedly pursued to influence the US president.
On Thursday, The Washington Post confirmed a meeting on December 12, 2016 between Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani with now-indicted former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former strategist Steve Bannon.
The meeting was reportedly preceded by separate talks
between Mr Cohen and the head of the Qatar Investment Authority, Ahmed Al Rumaihi, first at a breakfast fund-raiser in New York and later in the week at the Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan.
Mr Cohen, whose offices were raided by the FBI on April 9, sought a payment of “at least US$1 million (Dh3.67m) from the government of Qatar in late 2016, in exchange for access to and advice about the incoming administration”, according to the Post. It said the offer was declined but Mr Al Rumaihi told Mr Trump’s lawyer that Qatar would invest in the US infrastructure programme.
Six days later, Doha announced a $10 billion investment in the programme. Also on Thursday, The New
York Times reported that Brookfield Properties, “the company controlled by the family of the White House adviser Jared Kushner”, was “close to receiving a bailout of its financially troubled flagship building by a company with ties to the government of Qatar”, citing executives briefed on the agreement.
This represents a change of direction in the business talks between the Kushner family and Qatar. The Washington
Post reported last year that Mr Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, at the request of Doha, “met with Qatar’s finance minister [Ali Sharif Al Emadi] three months after Mr Trump’s inauguration, at a New York City session at which funding for a financially troubled real estate project was discussed”.
However, back then, the elder Kushner “turned down possible funding to avoid questions of a conflict of interest for his son”, according to the newspaper.
The new details emerged as Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for actress Stormy Daniels, who is suing Mr Trump over an alleged affair, posted on Twitter allegations and photos that have put the focus on Qatari ties with Mr Cohen and foreign attempts to influence the president.