Trump arranges to hold expanded meeting with Najib

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Trump arranges to hold expanded meeting with Najib

President Trump lavished praise Tuesday on scandal-scarred Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has set up camp at the Trump International Hotel, according to a report.

The visit is important for Najib, who faces elections next year and wants to signal he is still welcome at the White House despite a criminal probe by the US Justice Department into a state fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Mr. Najib also said the Employees Provident Fund, a major pension fund in Malaysia, planned to invest $3 billion to $4 billion in US infrastructure projects.

But it has been at the center of investigations in the USA and several countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme.

The U.S. Justice Department in June moved to seize more than a half a billion dollars in assets related to the 1MDB case, including a Picasso given to actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the screen rights to two Hollywood movies and a $27 million diamond necklace belong to Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor.

At their meeting, Trump and Najib focused on areas of agreement, such as economic development and counter-terrorism measures.

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 Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times posted video of Najib entering Trump International Hotel.

Media footage showed Najib arriving at the White House at about 11.46am U.S. time.

Trump is also likely to reiterate thanks for Malaysia's efforts to assist the USS John S. McCain, which collided with a tanker as the destroyer was on its way to Singapore, tearing a huge hole in the hull and leaving 10 sailors dead. "We're very proud of our stock market, what's happened since I became president".

Najib, before his White House visit, was upset with USA media reports accusing his country of sliding into dictatorship.

Mr. Trump didn't mention the investigation during his public appearance with Mr. Najib.

'It's unfortunate but consistent with Trump's policy of downplaying democracy and human rights as an aspect of US policy, ' says Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council for Foreign Relations.

Upon arrival to the USA, 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.

Asked if it was "problematic for someone under DOJ investigation to be supporting the president's for-profit company", Sanders said Najib made a "personal decision".

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