The Times broke a story yesterday about George Nader, a Trump pal who’s now cooperating with the Mueller investigation:
WASHINGTON — An adviser to the United Arab Emirates with ties to current and former aides to President Trump is cooperating with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and gave testimony last week to a grand jury, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Mueller appears to be examining the influence of foreign money on Mr. Trump’s political activities and has asked witnesses about the possibility that the adviser, George Nader, funneled money from the Emirates to the president’s political efforts. It is illegal for foreign entities to contribute to campaigns or for Americans to knowingly accept foreign money for political races.
Mr. Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who advises Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the effective ruler of the Emirates, also attended a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles that Mr. Mueller’s investigators have examined. The meeting, convened by the crown prince, brought together a Russian investor close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia with Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and an informal adviser to Mr. Trump’s team during the presidential transition, according to three people familiar with the meeting.
Mr. Nader’s cooperation in the special counsel’s investigation could prompt new legal risks for the Trump administration, and Mr. Nader’s presence at the Seychelles meeting appears to connect him to the primary focus of Mr. Mueller’s investigation: examining Russian interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Here’s the part that jumped out at me:
Mr. Nader was first served with search warrants and a grand jury subpoena on Jan. 17, shortly after landing at Washington Dulles International Airport, according to two people familiar with the episode. He had intended to travel on to Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Florida estate, to celebrate the president’s first year in office, but the F.B.I. had other plans, questioning him for more than two hours and seizing his electronics.
It jumped out at Josh Marshall too, who has a good summary behind a paywall here. One of Marshall’s takeaways is that the investigation into Nader squashes an emerging narrative that the Mueller investigation is focused on obstruction rather than collusion/conspiracy.
TL;DR version: Like The Dude’s rug in “The Big Lebowski,” which really tied a room together, Nader’s activities seem to link disparate characters and nations, including Flynn, Erik Prince, Kushner, Putin plus the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in addition to Russia. Marshall:
Remember that Mike Flynn’s story is heavily tied to Turkey. It’s never been entirely clear how this fits into the Russia story proper or whether it does at all. The Nader chapter suggests how it might.
Third, we have further confirmation that Jared Kushner’s finances and activities are as much a part of this as Donald Trump’s and may go places even Trump did not.
This Nader development is a big, big deal.
Seems that way to me too. What say you? Open thread!