DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An official in U.S. President Donald Trump’s Cabinet and at least one of his advisers gave paid speeches to organizations linked to an Iranian exile group that killed Americans before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, ran donation scams and saw its members set themselves on fire over the arrest of their leader. Elaine Chao, confirmed this week as Trump’s transportation secretary, received $50,000 in 2015 for a five-minute speech to the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, previously called a “cult-like” terrorist group by the State Department. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also was paid an unknown sum to talk to the group, known as the MEK. More than two dozen former U.S. officials, both Republican and Democratic, have spoken before the MEK, including former House Speaker and Trump adviser Newt Gingrich. Some have publicly acknowledged being paid, but others have not. While nothing would have prohibited the paid speeches, they raise questions about what influence the exiles may have in the new administration. Already, a group of former U.S. officials, including Giuliani, wrote a letter to Trump last month encouraging him to “establish a dialogue” with the MEK’s political arm. With Trump’s ban on… Read full this story
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