Prosecutors summoned Tillerson to support their allegations that Barak was acting as a secret back channel to the United Arab Emirates and was not formally involved in high-level discussions of the US Secretary of State and National Security Advisers on Middle East policy.
Barak is being tried for acting as a foreign agent for the UAE and failing to notify the Ministry of Justice of his role, while Barak pleaded not guilty and his lawyers said he was acting in his personal capacity in his dealings with senior officials of the UAE government, and did not promote their ideas to influence US foreign policy .
The focus of the prosecutors’ questions, on Monday, centered on what they described as the “siege” imposed on Qatar in June 2017 by several Middle Eastern countries, including the United Arab Emirates, as prosecutors allege that an Emirati official contacted Barak about the UAE’s opposition to a contract A proposed summit at Camp David to try to resolve the crisis.
During questioning by prosecutors, which lasted about an hour, Tillerson said that it was President Trump at the time who came up with the idea of the Camp David summit, saying, “It was his (Trump) idea.” He wanted to try to bring the parties together at Camp David, when the authorities say Barak advised Trump not to hold the summit, which never happened.
Tillerson said that, to his knowledge, Barak did not participate in discussions about the “blockade”, and testified that he did not provide any information to foreign governments, including the United Arab Emirates, about the internal discussions of the US government, explaining to the jury that the information is sensitive and that they do not want any “Outsiders” have access to information because situations may change and states may misinterpret and react to partial information.
In questioning witnesses, Barrack’s lawyers indicated that Tillerson may not know every conversation Trump had with advisers inside and outside the White House, which Tillerson confirmed that he did not know about the conversations Barak had with Trump or with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser.
To underscore this point, Randall Jackson, Barrack’s lawyer, asked Tillerson if he had been invited to the dinner that Trump and Kushner hosted at the White House for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to which Tillerson replied that he did not attend the dinner and does not remember whether He was aware of this at the time.
Tillerson added that it was “obvious” at the time that Kushner was speaking to the same foreign government officials he was talking to and that their messages were inconsistent.