- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly getting the cooperation of a Lebanese-American businessman with ties to Arab royalty in his probe of foreign influence on the Trump presidential campaign, including the possibility of a back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team.

Citing “two people familiar with the matter,” The New York Times reported Tuesday evening that George Nader testified last week to the Mueller grand jury.

Mr. Nader is an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates. According to The Times, Mr. Mueller is investigating whether Emirati money found its way to the Trump campaign, which would be illegal.

In addition, according to a Wednesday report in the Washington Post, Mr. Mueller is probing whether Mr. Nader had convened a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles as a form of surreptitious diplomacy.

The Times had reported, citing “three people familiar with the meeting” that the Abu Dhabi crown prince convened the meeting in the Indian Ocean resort-island involving Mr. Nader and advisers to both the U.S. and Russian presidents.

Blackwater security founder Erik Prince, an informal adviser to the Trump presidential-transition team, met there with fund manager Kirill Dmitriev. Mr. Nader had been a consultant for Blackwater.

“A witness cooperating with Mueller has told investigators the meeting was set up in advance so that a representative of the Trump transition could meet with an emissary from Moscow to discuss future relations between the countries, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters,” the Post wrote.

And according to The Times, Emirati officials also believed the American and the Russian were representing their respective presidents.

However Mr. Prince denied in testimony before Congress last fall that he was speaking for the Trump transition team and called his encounter with Mr. Dmitriev just a friendly conversation over a drink that took place by chance.

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