Mueller’s Team ‘Informally Met’ with a Consulting Firm on its Work with UAE

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating Russian interference in U.S. politics, has looked into the work of a consulting firm that’s done business in the Middle East, CNBC informed.

Mueller’s team “informally met” Joel Zamel, co-founder of the consulting firm Wikistrat, according to the report, which cited one person familiar with the matter.

Wikistrat, a Washington-based company that analyzes geopolitical issues, has worked for the United Arab Emirates, which tried to win U.S. backing for a regional blockade on Qatar, the Journal reported. Wikistrat was founded in Israel in 2010.

During the meeting, Zamel was asked about his business relations with George Nader, an adviser to the UAE and a witness in the special counsel’s probe, according to the report. Mueller’s team also asked about Zamel’s work for certain clients, the report added.

It wasn’t clear where the interrogation was heading, according to the report. The Journal suggested that Mueller’s investigation may be “looking more deeply at foreign influence in Washington” — beyond Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Marc Mukasey, a lawyer representing Wikistrat, said that Zamel and his company are not the targets of the Mueller’s probe.

“Neither Mr. Zamel nor Wikistrat are the targets of any investigation. Mr. Zamel is a well respected and ethical businessman with a fantastic company and a great reputation,” Mukasey told CNBC in an email late Monday.

The office of the special counsel didn’t respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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