An investment firm founded by President Trump's inaugural committee chairman planned to profit off connections to the Trump administration and access to foreign dignitaries, a Feb. 2017 memo obtained by ProPublica reportedly reveals. According to the website, Colony—founded by Tom Barrack—sought to get an “early lead on infrastructure investments” and attract investors while “avoiding any appearance of lobbying.” The memo states that the firm intended to set up a DC office to facilitate “roundtables between Ambassadors and members of the Administration to cultivate relationships” in infrastructure discussions and “tie [itself] into international bilateral meetings already occurring with key members of the Trump Administration,” according to the report. A source told ProPublica the memo was written by Rick Gates, who served as deputy chairman of the inaugural committee and was then hired as a Colony consultant. Gates, the former business partner of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference. Gates has since pleaded guilty to “conspiracy and lying to the FBI,” and is reportedly cooperating with law enforcement.
A Colony spokesman told ProPublica in a statement that the memo was “simply an outline of a proposed potential business plan which was never acted upon or implemented.” However, records cited in the report show Barrack and Gates were present for an April 14 meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the ambassadors of “Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”