The Department of Justice announced the indictment of lobbyist and california businessman George Nader and seven others over their alleged roles in funneling illegal donations to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign Tuesday. What is perhaps even more interesting is that Nader was a crucial witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election.
Nader is currently in federal custody under unrelated charges linked to the possession of child pornography. In 1991, Nader faced similar charges to which he pleaded guilty.
A federal grand jury handed down the charges on Nov. 7, however the DOJ unsealed the indictment only this week. Nader is facing 53 charges, the chief among them concealing the source of $3.5 million in donations to a presidential campaign. Although the DOJ’s statement does not name Clinton directly, campaign finance records indicate she was the recipient.
Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, allegedly conspired with Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja, the CEO of an online payments processing service, Allied Wallet Inc., to make the campaign donations in Khawaja’s wife’s name and through his company.
Both Nader and Khawaja have known ties to United Arab Emirates leadership and in particular, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Nader has an established reputation as an influence peddler. Along with Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Israeli social media expert Joel Zamel, Nader met with Donald Trump Jr. in August 2016 to discuss his services in liaising between Zayed and the Donald Trump campaign. In 2017, Nader also visited the White House multiple times to meet with then-presidential adviser Steve Bannon.
These meetings were placed into focus when Nader served as a witness during Mueller’s investigation, when it was revealed that Zamel allegedly approached him in 2016 in order to raise funding for an online astroturfing campaign – including the use of social media bots, fake websites and online advertisements – to support Trump’s bid for the presidency. Nader asserted that he did not assist Zamel, but it appears that he committed $2 million to Zamel’s project. After Trump’s election victory, Zamel boasted to Nader about how his online campaign was crucial to Trump.
Although federal prosecutors continue to investigate the origins of the $3.5 million in illegal Clinton campaign donations, it appears possible that the funds may have come from the UAE leadership through Nader. Although not the focus of these recent federal charges, it is also possible that Zamel’s pro-Trump online campaign funding originated, at least in part, from the UAE.
In other words, if these links are proven, it would show how UAE leadership and Nader himself sought to hedge their bets during the 2016 presidential race by supporting both Clinton and Trump, albeit through different means.