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Did Trump order lifting of travel ban for Nigel Farage? Congress probe launched

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Current rules imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 mean arrivals from the UK are barred from entering the US, with the exception of US citizens, their family members and “individuals who meet specified exceptions”. Nevertheless, on Saturday Mr Farage posted a pictured of himself captioned: “In the USA, only twenty four hours from Tulsa” – an apparent reference to the location of the rally that day.

Bennie G Thompson, chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on homeland security, subsequently wrote to Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, requesting “all relevant documents” on the decision to “waive the travel ban for Mr Farage”.

He said: “The decision of the Trump administration to admit Mr Farage to the United States to enable him to attend a campaign rally at a time when most travel from the United Kingdom to the US has been suspended raises numerous troubling questions, as does the claim that such travel was in the national interest.”

Mississipi Democrat Mr Thompson said a statement issued to his staff by America’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed Mr Farage had initially been denied permission to board while trying to fly from the UK to the US as a result of the travel restrictions.

Nigel Farage Donald Trump

Nigel Farage pictured with Donald Trump at an election rally in 2016 (Image: GETTY)

Bennie G Thompson

US Congressman Bennie G Thompson (Image: GETTY)

However, Mr Thompson said he had been told by the CBP the Department of Homeland Security had then undertaken a review and decided Mr Farage’s travel was “permissible” because his entry to the US “would be in the national interest”.

In his letter to Mr Wolf, Mr Thompson asked the Department of Homeland Security to provide “all communication” since March 14 related to Mr Farage’s trip to the US.

In a likely reference to the President himself, Mr Thompson also asked for documents on “the individual who ultimately approved travel to the US by Mr Farage” and “the determination and justification” that the trip “was a matter of national interest”.

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Nigel Farage tweet

Nigel Farage’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

The decision of the Trump administration to admit Mr Farage to the United States to enable him to attend a campaign rally at a time when most travel from the United Kingdom to the US has been suspended raises numerous troubling questions

Bennie G Thompson

He added: “The decision of the Trump Administration to admit Mr Farage to the United States to enable him to attend a campaign rally at a time when most travel from the United Kingdom to the US has been suspended raises numerous troubling questions, as does the claim that such travel was in the national interest.”

Mr Thompson also cited media reports which he said confirmed Mr Farage’s attendance at the rally.

Express.co.uk has contacted the Brexit Party to ask them about Mr Farage’s visit.

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Donald Trump

Donald Trump at his rally in Tulsa (Image: GETTY)

Bennie G Thompson

An excerpt from Bennie G Thompson’s letter (Image: Twitter)

Nigel Farage is a close ally of Mr Trump, and was famously pictured in Trump Tower shortly after the billionaire’s US Presidential election victory in 2016.

In February, prior to the travel ban coming into force, the 56-year-old travelled to Washington where he met Mr Trump at the White House.

He later tweeted: “Just had a great meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office.

Nigel Farage factfile

Nigel Farage factfile (Image: Daily Express)

“Good to see the bust of Winston Churchill, there should be great things ahead for our two countries.”

Speaking to Express.co.uk in October, Peggy Grande, the chairwoman and founder of a campaigning group called World 4 Brexit and a former executive assistant to US President Ronald Reagan, said of a trade deal between the US and the UK: “Nigel Farage’s relationship with Donald Trump is an added bonus, but without the appropriate governmental agencies and officials involved a deal cannot be hammered out or binding.”

Before to the event, Mr Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said there had been more than one million requests to attend the event.

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage pictured in a lift at Trump Tower after Mr Trump’s election victory (Image: GETTY)

However, the 19,000-seat BOK Center arena had many empty seats on Saturday evening and Mr Trump and Vice President Mike Pence scrapped planned speeches to an anticipated “overflow” area outside.

The Tulsa Fire Department put the crowd at about 6,200 people.

Social media users claimed they had sabotaged the event by completing the free online registration for the rally with no intention of going, in order to fool organisers into anticipating a massive crowd.



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