On Monday, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released a report documenting an informal Trump adviser’s financial interest in proposals to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
The report documented how Thomas Barrack, a California-based investor and a confidante of the president, worked to ensure that his company, Colony NorthStar, would profit from such a foreign sale of nuclear technology, and then personally advocated for this policy. He also tried to leverage his influence with Trump into a formal position in the administration, including special envoy to the Middle East and the U.S. ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
The proposal pushed to the Trump administration reportedly involved the construction of dozens of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia.
Barrack, who was recently interviewed by federal prosecutors, denies that there was any conflict of interest, and Republicans on the Oversight Committee supported this view in a minority report.
Saudi Arabia is consistently under fire for its human rights record, and this criticism has grown amid its brutal war in Yemen. Despite this, Trump has sought a close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and has strongly supported ongoing sales of conventional arms to the nation.