Cuba Lobbyist Works? President Trump To Participate In Oval Office Meeting With MLB To Discuss "Human Trafficking"

Today at 3:00 pm in the Oval Office, The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, “participates in a meeting on Major League Baseball’s efforts to combat human trafficking.” 

One confirmed participant was Mr. Rob Manfred, Commissioner of New York, New York-based Major League Baseball (MLB).

UPDATE: On 20 July 2019, MLB confirmed that Mr. Mariano Rivera, a retired player for the New York Yankees baseball team, participated in the meeting at The White House and met with President Trump.

UPDATE: As of 15 June 2019, neither The White House nor MLB have released the names of participants scheduled to attend the meeting in the Oval Office. MLB has not issued a statement relating to the meeting with the President.

UPDATE: Late in the evening of 11 June 2019, The White House issued the following statement: “Major League Baseball Commissioner Manfred met with President Trump to discuss the Administration’s policy on Cuba and MLB’s recent efforts to curtail human trafficking in Cuba. The United States supports efforts to end the scourge of human trafficking, including from Cuba.  The Administration will continue to hold the  Cuban regime accountable for its direct role in the trafficking of its citizens from the island. The Administration looks forward to finding productive ways to work with MLB to help the people of Venezuela, a country that has a rich history with MLB but has been destabilized by Cuba’s interference.”

UPDATE: On 19 June 2019, The Washington Post reported that the meeting was for “more than two hours”. However, The White House reported that the President was to participate in a 3:00 pm event with the winner of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 automobile race; his remarks commenced at 4:19 pm according to a transcript of the event.

The meeting is likely a result of a decision by MLB to retain Washington DC-based Ballard Partners to lobby [LINK To Filing] on “issues related to combating human trafficking.”  A Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 filing with the United States Congress on 8 May 2019 listed Mr. Brian Ballard and Mr. Sylvester Lukis as lobbyists.  The filing did not disclose payments to Ballard Partners.  

LINKS To Previous Analysis:

OFAC Responds To Major League Baseball Proposal For Players From Cuba 

7 April 2019 Tweet from The Honorable John R. Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs: “Cuba wants to use baseball players as economic pawns—selling their rights to Major League Baseball.  America’s national pastime should not enable the Cuban regime‘s support for Maduro in Venezuela.”  

5 April 2019 letter [LINK] from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury to New York, New York-based Major League Baseball (MLB). 

MLB Might Consider Three Options To Obtain Support For Agreement With Cuba 

Another Obama (Ben Rhodes) Administration Legacy Decision Harms Major League Baseball