Trump Jr. Met With Mueller Witness 05/20 10:40
Donald Trump Jr. met during the 2016 campaign with a private military
contractor and an adviser to Middle Eastern leaders, both of whom have since
become a focus of investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller, a
lawyer for President Donald Trump's eldest son said Saturday.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Donald Trump Jr. met during the 2016 campaign with a
private military contractor and an adviser to Middle Eastern leaders, both of
whom have since become a focus of investigators working for special counsel
Robert Mueller, a lawyer for President Donald Trump's eldest son said Saturday.
Erik Prince, an informal adviser to the Trump campaign and former head of
Blackwater, and George Nader, a veteran operative who has advised the United
Arab Emirates and helped American contractors secure business in the Middle
East, met with Trump Jr. at Trump Tower to discuss a social media proposal,
lawyer Alan Futerfas said in a statement.
"They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing
strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it," Futerfas said.
Also at the meeting was Joel Zamel, the CEO of a social media company called
WikiStrat. But he neither offered social media services to the Trump campaign,
nor was he asked to help the campaign, his lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said.
"Joel Zamel offered nothing to the Trump campaign, received nothing from the
Trump campaign, delivered nothing to the Trump campaign and was not solicited
by, or asked to do anything for, the Trump campaign," Mukasey said Saturday.
Mukasey also called it "misguided" to say Zamel conducts "social media
manipulation," as suggested by The New York Times, which first reported the
meeting. The newspaper said the August 2016 meeting was convened primarily to
offer assistance to the Trump campaign and that the outreach suggests countries
other than Russia may have offered to help get Trump elected.
Mueller's investigators have been looking into a later meeting, in January
2017 in the Seychelles, that Nader and Prince held with Abu Dhabi's crown
prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian banker
with close ties to the Kremlin. Nader is a witness in Mueller's ongoing
investigation into Russian interference in the election.
The Associated Press reported in March that Nader had been convicted on 10
counts of sexually assaulting a minor in the Czech Republic in 2003. Employees
for Prince's previous firm, Blackwater, were implicated in the deaths of 14
civilians in Iraq in 2007.
Neither a spokesman for Prince nor a spokeswoman for Nader's lawyer
immediately returned requests for comment Saturday.
Members of the House intelligence committee peppered Prince with questions
about his interactions with the Trump campaign during a November 2017
interview, but Prince did not disclose the Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr.
Mueller has dug into various facets of the social media and digital efforts
in the 2016 election as part of his expansive federal probe. In February, he
filed an indictment against 13 Russians and three companies accused of running
an elaborate campaign on social media to disrupt the elections.
The federal probe has also dipped into the digital side of Trump's 2016
campaign, with Mueller's team asking former campaign staff about the role of
Cambridge Analytica, the voter data firm which former White House chief
strategist Steve Bannon helped run.
The president and his closest aides have repeatedly said there was no
collusion between his campaign and the Russians. And the Republican-led House
intelligence committee found no evidence of collusion. But Senate investigators
said this past week that they believed the Russian meddling was clearly meant
to harm Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump.