An investigation by Responsible Statecraft has found that President Trump’s newly installed acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, knowingly provided public relations services directed at U.S. media on behalf of a project funded by Hungary’s far-right government. Grenell didn’t register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), which is a requirement applying to individuals and entities operating inside the U.S. as an “agent” of a “foreign principal.”
Craig Engle, Grenell’s attorney, told Responsible Statecraft that Grenell “knew that the Hungarian government was the sponsor” of work he undertook, but claimed that Grenell’s activities did not require him to file under FARA. According to the Justice Department, activities requiring registration as an “agent” to a “foreign principal” includes engaging in “acts within the United States as a public relations counsel, publicity agent, information-service employee or political consultant for or in the interests of such foreign principal.”
This latest revelation follows a similar ProPublica report published on Friday:
President Donald Trump’s new acting intelligence director, Richard Grenell, used to do consulting work on behalf of an Eastern European oligarch who is now a fugitive and was recently barred from entering the U.S. under anti-corruption sanctions imposed last month by the State Department.
In 2016, Grenell wrote several articles defending the oligarch, a Moldovan politician named Vladimir Plahotniuc, but did not disclose that he was being paid, according to records and interviews. Grenell also did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which generally requires people to disclose work in the U.S. on behalf of foreign politicians.
FARA is the same law that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates were convicted of violating. (Manafort went to trial. Gates pleaded guilty.)
Fmr. national security adviser Susan Rice says Richard Grenell, President Trump’s pick for acting DNI, is “one of the most nasty, dishonest people I’ve ever encountered” in addition to calling him a “hack and shill, and that’s all he’s ever been.”https://t.co/PgHdYx8DLx
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 22, 2020
Richard Grenell, Trump’s acting Director of National Intelligence, conducted undisclosed work for Hungary’s far-right government. Did not file under FARA. https://t.co/RPwvWUQkgs
— Eli Clifton (@EliClifton) February 24, 2020
It’s corrupt turtles all the way down: “Richard Grenell did consulting work on behalf of an Eastern European oligarch now a fugitive barred from entering U.S. under anti-corruption sanctions imposed last month by the State Department.” @propublica… https://t.co/67cBCynw1p
— Crooks and Liars (@crooksandliars) February 24, 2020
NEW: We know Trump’s new acting DNI to be a Twitter troll and Trump loyalist, but his work for foreign entities and governments has gone largely unreported. @EliClifton has the latest on Richard Grenell’s undisclosed ties to Hungary’s far-right gov’t https://t.co/wMFHWZfpZJ
— Responsible Statecraft (@RStatecraft) February 24, 2020