As part of his wide-ranging probe that has become far removed from its original goal of investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, special counsel Robert Mueller is now reportedly investigating an Emirati (UAE) lobbyist’s connections to current and former White House officials.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that George Nader, a lobbyist for the UAE, is being questioned for his role in attempting to curry favor with the incoming Trump administration.
The story details how the Trump administration has made a concerted effort to broaden ties with several Gulf actors, all of which have long been considered U.S. allies.
The New York Times reveals that much of the information in the piece is sourced to “someone critical of the Emirati influence in Washington.” It is very plausible that the Times got its information from an agent for the UAE’s chief rival in the region, which is the wealthy Gulf state of Qatar.
Qatar is well known for conducting extensive lobbying in Washington. Doha spends over $20 million a year to influence the hearts and minds of journalists, policymakers, and thinkers in D.C.
Nothing in the New York Times piece comes as a particular shock. The most striking accusation is that the UAE lobbyist wanted President Trump to fire Rex Tillerson, yet the secretary of state remains on the job.
By far the strangest thing about the story is its timing. The New York Times published a revelation that Mueller is investigating a lobbyist for the UAE simultaneously with opposition research on the UAE that might well be sourced to an agent for a rival foreign government.
This isn’t the first time the special counsel has delved into very specific foreign policy issues that seem entirely unrelated to the purpose of the investigation into Russian interference in the election.
General Michael Flynn’s and Jared Kushner’s roles in stopping the U.N.’s anti-Israel vote
One of the charges against Gen. Michael Flynn involved his role in attempting to quash an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations, which occurred after President Trump had already been elected. The resolution passed just weeks before President Obama was set to leave office, when traditionally, the outgoing president does what he can to provide a comfortable environment for the incoming administration. The Obama administration delivered a parting shot at Israel, deciding not to use its veto power against a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned Israel and accused the Jewish state of “flagrant violations” of international law.
Flynn and other transition officials reportedly reached out to several countries in an effort to shut down the toxic anti-Israel resolution. The decorated general was later charged with making false statements to the FBI about his dealings with the Russians regarding the U.N. resolution. A hostile Mueller seemingly punished Flynn for standing with American allies.
Late last year, Mueller was also scrutinizing efforts made by Jared Kushner to defeat the United Nations resolution. Mueller was particularly interested in finding out whether the president’s son-in-law reached out to other countries to lobby against the resolution.
Christopher Steele, the British agent, and Hillary Clinton operatives, who got their info from Moscow
The Mueller investigation commenced following the publication of an unsubstantiated political opposition research document known as the Trump-Russia dossier. The dossier was reportedly compiled by Christopher Steele, a longtime British spy. Mueller’s team met last summer with Mr. Steele, who recently admitted that he did not travel to Russia in compiling his dossier and relied on second and third-hand intermediaries.
Steele’s legitimacy as an honest broker continues to be called into question. In a piece for the New Yorker published Monday, Steele put forward an unproven conspiracy alleging that Russia vetoed Mitt Romney as President Trump’s potential secretary of state.
Steele had a lot of financial incentives to produce the goods in the dossier, whether or not the information was backed by facts. The Clinton campaign paid out over $9 million for anti-Trump research.
Operatives for Hillary Clinton also played a major role in legitimizing the dossier. Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer — two longtime Clinton hatchet men — were reportedly essential players in maneuvering the dossier. They reportedly got their information from Russian oligarchs tied to the Kremlin.
The Mueller probe commenced with foreign sources
Why is it that the Mueller investigation has seemingly attached itself to oddly specific foreign policy matters? The Trump-Russia dossier, which birthed the Mueller investigation, originated with foreign sources. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the dossier’s bombastic, unproven, and shoddy allegations have led Mueller’s team to chase down very questionable leads.