Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office should be interested in a meeting which took place in 2016 between Middle East specialist George Nader, United Arab Emirates officials and members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle.
“The motive in a criminal prosecution is clearly important — particularly if it is a corrupt motive, if it involves compromising confidential information or a position of trust — and so the grand jury ought to be very interested in what George Nader has to say about the substance of that conversation at that meeting and others involving him in other parts of the world,” he said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
“The special counsel probably knows — not probably knows, but certainly knows — more than we do, and that meeting was significant,” Blumenthal continued.
According to sources, Nader was stopped by the FBI at Washington Dulles International Airport in January as he returned from an overseas trip and has since then been questioned by Mueller’s investigators to whom he has been providing information.
The sources added that Nader attended a December 2016 meeting in New York between Emirati officials and members of Trump’s inner circle, and another in January 2017 in the Seychelles islands between the Emiratis and Erik Prince, a Trump associate.
Mueller’s questions about the Emiratis indicate that the Russia investigation has expanded beyond Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to broader concerns about foreign influence during the presidential campaign and long after it concluded. According to a report by The Washington Post, at least four countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have discussed ways they could compromise Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and adviser.
Although there is nothing to suggest that Nader is suspected of wrongdoing, his knowledge of key meetings involving the Emiratis and others could be helpful to the special counsel in understanding the inner workings of the transition and possible efforts to influence key figures in the administration.