U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during a meeting with leaders at the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Trump will use the nation that is home to Islam’s holiest site as a backdrop to call for Muslim unity in the fight against terrorism Sunday, as he works to build relationships with Arab leaders. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Yesterday, the FBI leaked enough information to the Washington Post and the New York Times about the identity of the informant used by the FBI to target the Donald Trump campaign that the NYT was able to interview people he had targeted and ask them about their relationship with the stooge…but they didn’t name his name. So he’s still covert and all. Today we have another leak from either Justice or the FBI that seeks to justify the counterintelligence sting run on the Trump campaign by insinuating that lots of other countries were aiding the Trump campaign.
Three months before the 2016 election, a small group gathered at Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. One was an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes. The third was a Republican donor with a controversial past in the Middle East as a private security contractor.
The meeting was convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months — past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office, according to several people with knowledge of their encounters.
Erik Prince, the private security contractor and the former head of Blackwater, arranged the meeting, which took place on Aug. 3, 2016. The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the crown princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president. The social media specialist, Joel Zamel, extolled his company’s ability to give an edge to a political campaign; by that time, the firm had already drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump.
The company, which employed several Israeli former intelligence officers, specialized in collecting information and shaping opinion through social media.
Quick quiz. When was the last time you talked to any outfit wanting work on a campaign who didn’t claim they could give you the edge? Direct mail, phone banks, polling, social media, whatever, they all make the same claim.
It is unclear whether such a proposal was executed, and the details of who commissioned it remain in dispute. But Donald Trump Jr. responded approvingly, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting, and after those initial offers of help, Mr. Nader was quickly embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers — meeting frequently with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Michael T. Flynn, who became the president’s first national security adviser. At the time, Mr. Nader was also promoting a secret plan to use private contractors to destabilize Iran, the regional nemesis of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.
After Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Nader paid Mr. Zamel a large sum of money, described by one associate as up to $2 million. There are conflicting accounts of the reason for the payment, but among other things, a company linked to Mr. Zamel provided Mr. Nader with an elaborate presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Mr. Trump’s victory.
The meetings, which have not been reported previously, are the first indication that countries other than Russia may have offered assistance to the Trump campaign in the months before the presidential election. The interactions are a focus of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, who was originally tasked with examining possible Trump campaign coordination with Russia in the election.
Where to start. We have an allegation without evidence that this George Nader said two Saudi Arabian “crown princes” (Saudi Arabia only has one crown prince, later they refer to the current Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of the UAE, so who knows what they mean) wanted to help Donald Trump. And Nader became, according to the story, a fixture on the campaign. What does that mean? Who were the princes? Were they speaking for the government? Given the way the Trump campaign collected charlatans and grifters like Velcro collects lint, was the offer real? More importantly, did they provide help? If so, what kind?
So we have a meeting. Or, more precisely, a meeting that came to exactly nothing. But it gets better. One of the guys in the meeting had dealings with a company that had dealings with Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch that Robert Mueller got to help try to find missing CIA operative Robert Levinson in Iran.
This is just throwing stuff against the wall and hoping it sticks. What is curious is that we have the ridiculous op-ed in the WaPo saying the investigation actually tried to HELP Trump. This one clearly implies that Trump was bought by the Saudis and UAE as well, so it doesn’t look like help.
The overarching theme of all of these, in my view, is that the “insurance policy” was a fairly robust operation that was attacking the Trump campaign from multiple angles trying to find something that would stick.