Indicted Trump friend Tom Barrack was effectively a 'secret agent': former federal prosecutor
Tom Barrack, a longtime friend and business partner of President Donald Trump, speaking to CNN. (Image via screengrab.)

On CNN Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig explained the severity of the charges against former President Donald Trump's associate and inaugural director Tom Barrack, who is accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates.

"It threatens our national security," said Honig. "It's not necessarily illegal to lobby on behalf of a foreign country, but it is illegal to do that in secret without registering. You have to register with the Justice Department. The fact that Barrack didn't do that, was very close to the president and in position to and actually did influence our national policy, our foreign policy, if we don't know that, that's what a secret agent is. That's a threat to our national security."

"A gun for hire, right? You're representing another country's interests for money," said anchor Jim Sciutto. "One of the charges here is something else we've seen with members of his circle, and that is obstruction of justice, specifically false statements to the FBI. Why do you think that's potentially more significant than the, than the foreign agent registration charges?"

"Two reasons, Jim," said Honig. "First of all, the obstruction of justice charges on their own actually carry a higher potential penalty than just the foreign agent charges. If he's convicted of both, they'll merge for a higher sentence. It says a lot about Tom Barrack's state of mind. It suggests that he lied. Look, people lie for a reason when they talk to the FBI. And if you're a prosecutor, you get to stand up in front of a jury and say, folks, he lied to the FBI, he did that because he knew what he was doing was wrong, he knew he had something to hide. That could be really powerful evidence."

Watch below:

Elie Honig says Tom Barrack was a "secret agent" for the UAE