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Trump, Malaysian PM Najib discuss trade deals, Boeing jets

Trump, Malaysian PM Najib discuss trade deals, Boeing jets”

US President Donald Trump welcomes Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the White House in Washington September 13, 2017.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Monday that the investigation was "apolitical, and certainly independent of anything taking place" during meetings involving the president.

Najib's visit comes as some of his family members and associates are under scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department, which is investigating corruption and money laundering of funds from the 1MDB state development company.

The prime minister said these facts will be presented to Trump as a way to convince the president that Malaysia is determined to become a developed nation and plays an important role as a trading and political partner to the US. But the fund has been at the center of investigations in the US and several countries amid allegations of a global embezzlement and money-laundering scheme.

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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.

President Trump is set to meet with another foreign diplomat.

According to Najib's itinerary, he will witness the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Malaysian national carrier and Boeing. Trump said the deal is worth $10 billion to $20 billion.

Instead, after Razak mentioned purchases his government is making of American-made planes, Trump pointed out that Malaysia is a "massive investor in the United States in terms of stocks and bonds".

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"With Trump in the White House and his administration's downplaying of human rights and democracy, Prime Minister Najib's handling of the opposition is not likely to be a focus of the White House meeting", Hiebert said. The White House said it would not comment on the US Department of Justice investigation.

Najib had once enjoyed close ties with Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, playing golf with the Democratic president in Hawaii in 2014.

"No prime minister of Malaysia in the past 60 years had to face such phalanx of global media hostility or avalanche of adverse press publicity both in the United States and the world", he said in a statement. "He will also try to convey the impression that the USA investigation on 1MDB has nothing to do with him", said James Chin, who heads the Asia Institute in Australia's University of Tasmania.

Sanders said Tuesday that the White House had nothing to do with choosing the accommodations of visiting foreign dignitaries.

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