Days after the Senate Judiciary Committee released a transcript of its interview with Donald Trump, Jr. regarding his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign, new reports surfaced suggesting that the president’s son met with other foreign entities to discuss the election.
The New York Times reported Saturday that Trump, Jr. met with George Nader, a businessman who was representing the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August 2016. Nader reportedly informed Trump, Jr. that both countries were “eager to help his father win election as president.”
The report marks the first indication that foreign entities other than Russia may have sought to influence the election, working closely with the Trump campaign.
Erik Prince — brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, advisor to the Trump transition team, and former head of the private military company Blackwater — apparently arranged the meeting, and an Israeli “social media specialist” named Joel Zamel presented information about his company’s ability to give Trump’s campaign an “edge” on social media.
As with Trump, Jr.’s 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the president’s son’s response to the report of his meeting with Nader, Prince, and Zamel has focused on his claim that nothing came of the encounter.
“Prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader, and another individual who may be Joel Zamel,” Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Trump, Jr., 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.”
According to the Times report, “two people familiar with the meetings said that Trump campaign officials did not appear bothered by the idea of cooperation with foreigners.”
In his investigation into the Trump campaign, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly questioned Nader in recent weeks and has sought information about any attempts by the UAE to financially support Trump’s run. Nader has also been questioned about his role in arranging a meeting between Prince and a Kremlin-connected businessman in January 2017.