The Real Deal Los Angeles

Special counsel Robert Mueller interviews Colony NorthStar’s Thomas Barrack

The billionaire is a close friend of President Trump's and directed his 2017 inauguration
May 06, 2018 10:30AM

From left: Special counsel Robert Mueller, Colony NorthStar chair Thomas Barrack. (Credit: The White House, Getty Images)

Thomas Barrack has been drawn into special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing federal investigation.

The chair of Colony NorthStar and long-time friend of the President was interviewed as part of Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, according to the Associated Press.

The nature of the questions the special counsel directed at Barrack remain unclear, however two sources revealed their understanding of the interview to AP.

One source told AP Barrack’s interview, which happened “months ago,” focused on questions about indicted campaign officials, Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, and Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates. (Gates has been cooperating with the investigation since February after pleaing guilty to charges of federal conspiracy and false statements.) According to the source, investigators asked Barrack about Gates’ involvement on Trump’s inauguration committee, which Barrack oversaw and hired Gates to work on.

Another source said the investigators asked about financial matters relating to the presidential inauguration as well as the campaign and transition period. Barrack was a major fundraiser for Trump’s campaign and early supporter of his candidacy; once elected, Trump reportedly offered him the role of chief of staff, but Barrack declined saying he was “just too rich” and didn’t want his personal and professional life on the political stage.

Barrack and Trump has been close since 1988 when the California-based investor negotiated Trump’s purchase of the Plaza Hotel on behalf of Texas billionaire Robert Bass. [AP]Erin Hudson