Qatar hires Bush attorney general for ‘crisis response’
The government of Qatar has hired one of the War on Terror’s legal heavyweights to advise the country on international counter-terrorism finance laws.
John Ashcroft, the former U.S. senator and the U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush, has been tapped to guide Qatar amid a diplomatic crisis, according to public filings with the Department of Justice.
The big-name hire comes after Qatar was ostracized by a host of Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia and the Untied Arab Emirates. They accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region with ties to their Shiite rival, Iran.
President Trump has also accused the Qatari government of funding terrorist groups.
The deal was first reported this weekend by Bloomberg after Ashcroft’s law firm issued a public filing to the Justice Department. U.S. lobbyists and attorneys who ink deals to act on behalf of foreign entities are required to disclose such information.
Ashcroft’s firm is charging Qatar a $2.5 million flat fee to cover the firm’s first 90 days of expenses on this project “given the urgent need to commence work.” The firm says it will make the project a “top priority.”
According to the public filing, issued June 9, Ashcroft will take the lead on the case.
But his firm says he will also “enlist the support” of “former key government leaders.” That includes people who have previously held “very senior positions” within the U.S. intelligence community, the FBI and the departments of Homeland Security and Treasury.
Ashcroft’s firm says it will provide Qatari officials with “comprehensive strategic advice, legal counsel, support and representation related to confirming, educating, assessing and reporting on [Qatar’s] efforts to combat global terrorism.”
It will also advise the Qatari government on America’s anti-terrorism finance laws and treasury regulations.
–CNN’s Kevin Bohn and Joe Sterling contributed to this report.