Or, at least, Abramoff was for several months during late 2016 and early 2017, as he attempted to schedule a meeting between Donald Trump and the controversial president of the Republic of Congo, according to Department of Justice records obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.
Abramoff, the documents detail, was aiding an Italian national hoping to earn a consulting contract with the Republic of Congo that, in part, sought to polish its image in the United States.
There’s no evidence that a meeting or phone call between Trump and Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso ever took place.
But the revelation that Abramoff formally registered as an agent working to advance the interests of a foreign government stands in stark contrast to the political reformist image Abramoff has cut for himself since he emerged from federal prison in 2010.
Abramoff this month filed his retroactive lobbying disclosures at the request of the Department of Justice and promptly terminated his association with the Italian national — Costel Iancu of the firm Global Scructures Group in Bucharest, Romania — and the Congolese government.
Abramoff, reached Wednesday evening, referred questions to his lawyer, Peter Zeidenberg of law firm Arent Fox.