Donald Trump Jr. Met With Emissaries From Arab Countries For Help On Winning Election

Russia wasn't the only nation that sent people to meet with Trump Campaign officials at Trump Tower back in 2016 regarding assistance to the Trump Campaign.

The New York Times is reporting that Donald Trump Jr. and other officials in the Donald Trump Presidential campaign met with officials of another foreign government at Trump Tower promising assistance in winning the election:

WASHINGTON — 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.

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.

This meeting, of course, brings to mind the meeting that Trump Jr, along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had at Trump Tower with Natalia  Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney linked to the Russian government who has since admitted to being a Russian government informant. That meeting happened after Trump Jr. and other campaign officials were told that Veselnitskaya had access to information that would prove to be damaging to Hillary Clinton. When the meeting was first reported, Trump Jr. both claimed, in a statement released by the White House, which we now know the President participated in drafting, that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the adoption of Russian children and sanctions impacting that program that put in place after the Russian seizure of Ukraine in 2014. It soon became apparent, though, that this claim was false. although that was apparent from the beginning that this claim was nonsense since it was unlikely that three top campaign officials, including two of the candidate’s family members, would take a meeting on such an esoteric topic.

Within days after the initial report, as questions regarding the adoption cover story began to reveal that it was nonsense, Trump Jr. released a string of emails between himself and other campaign officials regarding the meeting. Those emails made it clear that the purported purpose of the meeting was based on the claim that Veselnitskaya could deliver allegedly damaging information about Hillary Clinton. In one of those emails, Trump Jr. responded “That’s great” when informed that the lawyer had access to damaging information about Clinton and the Democrats. Later, Veselnitskaya said in interviews that Trump Jr. offered a quid pro quo in exchange for information about Clinton. In other words, the initial explanation for the meeting provided by the White House was a fabrication, and the President’s involvement in drafting it raises some rather obvious questions about what he knew and when he knew it.

In any case, this report, while not directly related to anything having to do with contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, does appear as if it could be significant. The most obvious issue, of course, is the fact that it is a violation of American law for foreign governments, companies, or individuals to be involved in any way in an American election. This includes not just a ban on donations, but also a ban on any kind of assistance, direct or indirect, to a campaign for any political office. In this report, we have evidence that not only Russia but also purported American allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of whom resented the Obama Administration for its policies toward Iran and also opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal with Iran. Second, alongside the meeting with Veselnitskaya two months earlier, it demonstrates that Trump campaign officials were apparently unconcerned with the fact that they were meeting with people connected with foreign governments for assistance that would benefit Trump in the General Election notwithstanding the fact that it is against the law. Finally, the fact that Trump Jr. was involved in this meeting just as he was involved in the June meeting with Veselnitskaya is a strong indication that the candidate himself was well aware of what was going on just a floor above him. The idea that he’d be unaware of what his son was doing considering how closely the two had worked together in the private sector is, quite simply, implausible.

There are a number of unanswered questions that come to mind after reading this report, of course. The first is whether or not there were any subsequent meetings between Trump Jr. or other campaign officials and the people involved in this meeting or others linked to them. If there were, then this would suggest that the idea of foreigners helping the Trump campaign in some respect would be strengthened. The second is what, if anything, these foreign representatives may have done to assist the campaign. Finally, there’s the question of whether or not Trump Jr. or other campaign officials met with any other people linked to foreign governments with regard to assistance in the primary or the General Election. Given their willingness to meet with officials from at least three nations that we know of, it’s not too hard to believe that they would set up meetings with anyone else offering help in the election.

Reportedly, this meeting has been known to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for some time now and it’s likely that it has become a subject of his ongoing investigation. Where it leads only time will tell, of course, but it’s really beginning to look as if the Trump campaign was willing to look the other way when it came to Federal election laws if they thought it would help them. That makes the possibility that they were colluding with Russian representatives to aid the campaign to seem all the more plausible.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, Russia Investigation, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    It doesn’t seem possible, but apparently Junior–and his brother Eric, for that matter–may be even dumber than the man who spawned them.




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  2. @CSK:

    Fredo I and Fredo II in a family full of Fredos.




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  3. teve tory says:

    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.

    You don’t say.




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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    How many drips is this in the drip, drip, drip?




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  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    whether or not there were any subsequent meetings between Trump Jr. or other campaign officials and the people involved in this meeting

    Weren’t there subsequent meetings in Seychelles?




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  6. teve tory says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I just read last week that there are 75 known connections between trump campaign people and kremlin-connected russians. If you expect me to try to keep up with other countries now too….




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  7. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It’s the stupidity of arrogance, and the arrogance of stupidity. Trump and his sons have spent their entire adult lives bribing, threatening, and coercing people, driving little old ladies out of their homes, screwing sub-contractors, employing illegal immigrants and drastically underpaying them, setting up scam “universities,” rubbing shoulders with the mob, and, in general, leaving a glistening trail of slime behind them like giant slugs, and they thought they could continue on doing so on the national stage without consequence.




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  8. Modulo Myself says:

    I believe that Don Jr and Eric were so dumb that any of us could have received 1 million dollars simply by mentioning ‘social media’ to them in a conspiratorial way. Burn After Reading predicted almost all of this, except nobody in the movie is as dumb as Don Jr. and Eric.




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  9. Mikey says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Burn After Reading predicted almost all of this, except nobody in the movie is as dumb as Don Jr. and Eric.

    Sick burn, dude.

    (Great movie, btw.)




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  10. MBunge says:

    I am starting to get a little concerned about what you may do to yourself when even you can’t pretend this “COLLUSION!” stuff is real. Do you have a suicide hotline number prominently displayed in every room in your home?

    Mike




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  11. CSK says:

    @MBunge:

    Mike. Come on. This is a pack of not-very-bright sleazebags who labor under the delusion that they can operate the way they did in private life. From whence cometh your affection for them?




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  12. Guarneri says:

    “Mike. Come on. This is a pack of not-very-bright sleazebags……..”

    Well, it’s nice to see your honest assessment of the commenters here. However, I don’t think Mike owes a duty to explain them.




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  13. CSK says:

    @Guarneri:

    It should be obvious that by “not-very-bright sleazebags,” I was referring to the Trumps. But perhaps you were making a joke?

    I would still like to know what you find so admirable about the Trumps. When I pose this question to a Trump fancier, I never get an answer.




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  14. SenyorDave says:

    @CSK: Trump has spent his whole life doing anything he wants on both a personal and professional level and never suffering any consequences as a result of his actions. I don’t think he believed he would win the election, and I don’t think he wanted to (I believe he was going to go in with Bannon and start TrumpTV, which would be a 24 hour a day the liberals are destroying the country , watch our network to learn how and we’ll show you how to fight back. A Fox on steroids).

    Once he won I think he assumed he would run the federal government like he ran his business and use the various branches in any manner he wished, which is why he only cares about loyalty. He could care less about the country, the people or institutions, he’s in it for money and accolades. It must have been a shock when he found out he couldn’t actually imprison Clinton based on his direct orders.

    Trump is Trump, an ignorant, racist, amoral pig. In many ways I have a bigger problem with the GOP as a whole, enabling this POS, allowing him to degrade the country. We don’t yet fully know the extent of Trump’s actions, whether he personally was involved with foreign countries to influence the election. And most of the GOP supports limiting or shutting down Mueller’s investigation. IMO, they are a bunch of traitors. They want to shut down a legitimate investigation that started in order to answer the question of whether the Trump campaign or others worked with Russia to influence a US presidential election. And McConnell and Ryan and most of the rest of the GOP have consistently put party ahead of the country.




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  15. teve tory says:

    Mueller Probe Expands to Israeli Entrepreneur With U.A.E. Ties

    And the article reveals that Mueller’s already been all up in this.

    At this point, I’m pretty sure the Trump campaign wasn’t colluding with Malta, Djibouti, or Papua New Guinea. Everyone else is suspect.




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  16. teve tory says:

    Once he won I think he assumed he would run the federal government like he ran his business and use the various branches in any manner he wished, which is why he only cares about loyalty. He could care less about the country, the people or institutions, he’s in it for money and accolades. It must have been a shock when he found out he couldn’t actually imprison Clinton based on his direct orders.

    The dumbasses who are, today, still chanting “Lock Her Up!” at his rallies…I wonder if they ever say to themselves…wait…it’s been a year and a half and she’s still rich and free and not even investigated…huh? Not that they’re a very reflective bunch.




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  17. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Trump’s a loud, white ignoramus, and Guarneri. . .




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  18. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Indeed, but…I want the Trumpkins to come right out and proclaim, loudly and clearly, that it’s Trump’s very loathsomeness they venerate. Because he’s just like them, as they themselves say.




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  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    @Guarneri:
    Every day it becomes more obvious…and every day you make a bigger fool of yourselves.




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  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Sleazebag Donald Trump brags that he grabs women by the pussy.
    Throws in talk of “tried to fvck her” and “phony tits” to insure that Bungles and Gooneri worship his manhood.




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  21. Kathy says:

    I assume the Branch Turmpidians will be like: “Not fair! The Mueller probe is supposed to be about the crimes Trump committed with the Russians, not crimes he committed with other foreign nationals!”




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  22. Hal_10000 says:

    @teve tory:

    At this point, I’m pretty sure the Trump campaign wasn’t colluding with Malta, Djibouti, or Papua New Guinea. Everyone else is suspect.

    I dunno. I hear Trump is eyeing off some real estate on Malta.




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  23. Guarneri says:

    @CSK:

    I’m not a Trump fancier, but he was duly elected and I am a fancier of the rule of law anld our election process.

    Try it some time instead of whining like an 8 year old brat.




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  24. An Interested Party says:

    …I am a fancier of the rule of law…

    Then you should have no problem with the Mueller investigation…




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  25. teve tory says:

    Ali H. Soufan

    Verified account

    @Ali_H_Soufan
    Follow Follow @Ali_H_Soufan
    More
    So far, the Mueller probe looks like a vast espionage inquiry intersecting with multiple corruption investigations in a scope bigger than both Watergate and Abscam.

    1:23 PM – 19 May 2018




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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri:

    I am a fancier of the rule of law

    So you’re in favor of Mueller’s investigation and absolutely outraged at all the law breaking he has uncovered in the ongoing criminal enterprise that is trump?




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  27. teve tory says:

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    @realDonaldTrump
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    More
    Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!

    6:04 AM – 20 May 2018




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  28. SenyorDave says:

    @teve tory: The scary part is this works totally with his base, and with conservative media. The WSJ wants to know where Obama was when the FBI had their “spy” in the Trump campaign. Maybe Obama was letting the DOJ do their job. One might assume that the DOJ got a tip from someone in the Trump campaign about the various meetings with people from other countries about influencing the US elections. So now the GOP has outed an informant. The Republican leadership has really crossed the Rubicon, they truly will do anything to not go against Trump. McConnell and Ryan should be swinging from a yardarm.




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  29. teve tory says:

    @SenyorDave: I believe Donald Trump when he says he didn’t collude with russia or obstruct justice, in the same way I believe him when he says he didn’t sleep with Stormy Daniels, doesn’t know anything about Cohen’s payment to her, and is worth ten billion dollars. The guy’s as good as his word.




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  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: You really ARE the least self-aware person on the planet not named Trump, aren’t you?




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  31. MarkedMan says:

    You know, on a different thread I made a comment about how arguing with Trumpoids is like arguing with the robots (“hosts”) on Westworld. This thread is making me realize it’s a better analogy than I realized.

    For those who haven’t watched the show, the hosts populate an alternate fantasy world that is an idealized version of America’s Old West. To the hosts, there is no other world. So what happens if they are shown a picture by a guest that has skyscrapers in the background, or accidentally see a park maintenance worker drive by in a utility vehicle? They are programmed to not see it. If you ask them about it they immediately jump to a subroutine where they simply state, “It doesn’t look like anything to me.”

    So here we are in a thread discussing the latest evidence of collusion. To repeat, the very topic of Doug’s post is new evidence of collusion. And out of nowhere, in the middle of the thread, a Trumpoid pipes up about how we anti-Trumpers must be getting desperate because there is no evidence of collusion. And it hit me. The reason he didn’t even reference this new evidence is because “it doesn’t look like anything to” him. Trumpoids can’t even see it, because it violates their internal world view.

    Trumpoids are hosts.




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  32. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:

    I’m not a Trump fancier, but he was duly elected and I am a fancier of the rule of law

    That’s funny shit, right there.




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  33. Tyrell says:

    Uniformed sources report that Mueller will be investigating and has search warrants – for people who are suspected of violating the super size soft drink laws.




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