Trump meets Malaysia leader under investigation by his Justice Department

Trump meets Malaysia leader under investigation by his Justice Department

Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who accompanied Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on his working visit to the US from September 11-13, will hold separate discussions with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

That meant photographers could not take the traditional photo of the two leaders sitting side by side, but a White House official said not to read anything into the change. The criminal probe into Prime Minister Najib Razak centers around billions of dollars in assets the USA claims were acquired using a government fund and laundered through American firms.

Prime Minister Najib Razak will visit the Oval Office for talks that the White House says will be focused on terrorism, trade and Asian maritime disputes. He was sworn into the position on 3 April 2009 to succeed Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Malaysia has faced one non-fatal IS-linked attack, the June 28, 2016 grenade attack against a pub in Puchong, Selangor, but has thwarted other terror attempts prior and since, the most recent as disclosed by police intelligence being the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The White House had said it would not comment on the Justice Department investigation.

Trump is expected to visit the region later this year for summits in Vietnam and the Philippines.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Tuesday that no efforts had been made to make the premier stay at the president's hotel and that Razak made a "personal decision".

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"That investigation is apolitical and certainly independent of anything taking place tomorrow", she said on Monday.

Mr. Najib said Tuesday the airline deals would be worth $10 billion in five years, or more if the airline executes the option for additional planes. Trump has been seeking partners in Asia to help counter Pyongyang amid new provocations.

Mr. Najib also didn't mention the Justice Department probe into the 1MDB investment fund in Malaysia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, second from left, speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Washington.

Najib stressed the key for the United States "to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world" is to support 'moderate and progressive Muslim regimes and governments around the world, ' such as Malaysia's 'because that is the true face of Islam, that is the authentic face of Islam'. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Upon arrival to the U.S., the Malaysian leader and his large diplomatic entourage checked into the Trump family's swank DC hotel, which the president still owns, according to ThinkProgress.

"Not only is Mr Najib known for imprisoning peaceful opponents, silencing critical media and reversing Malaysia's progress toward democracy", the paper wrote.

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