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Editor's Brief

The August Trump Tower Meeting With Gulf Emissaries

Donald Trump Jr. walks around Trump Tower on December 6, 2016 in New York. / AFP / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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May 21, 2018 12:24 p.m.

Let me share some thoughts on the significance of that blockbuster Times article from the weekend on that 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Don, Jr. and emissaries from Gulf monarchs offering to help candidate Trump’s campaign.

Since early this year we’ve heard a steady stream of reports about backchannel discussions and deals between key Trump advisors like Jared Kushner and leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. This part of the investigation broke into the open early this year after FBI agents working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller met George Nader at Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C. on January 17th, 2018. Nader had arrived from abroad on his way to Mar-a-Lago for a celebration of the anniversary of Trump’s first year in office. He had become a close advisor to the White House, Trump, and Jared Kushner. Agents had warrants to seize his electronic devices. They questioned him for two hours. The upshot of the encounter was that Nader more or less immediately became a cooperating witness with the Mueller probe.

It soon emerged that it had been Nader, acting on behalf of the UAE, who had arranged that January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles which brought together Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev. As had long been suspected, it was an effort to build a backchannel to Russia. Nader had also made at least two visits to Moscow during the 2016 campaign as the emissary of the leader of the UAE.

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