Elliott Broidy and George Nader are relatively new names in the ongoing saga of Trump’s corruption. The pair of Republican fundraisers first drew national attention in connection with a meeting they arranged in the Seychelles Islands—a meeting in which Trump supporter, Betsy Devos’ brother, and proud owner of his own mercenary army Erik Prince met not just with moneymen from the United Arab Emirates, but with Russian oligarch Kirill Dmitriev. And then, of course, lied about it.
But Broidy and Nader didn’t start their efforts to stuff money into politicians’ pockets with the 2016 season. Broidy was convicted of attempting to bribe New York officials to the tune of $1 million in 2009. Fortunately for Broidy, he reached an agreement to pay $18 million in fines and walked away without jail time—not bad considering the contract he won with those bribes was valued at $250 million. After this success, Broidy moved onto the defense industry with his new company, Circinus. And, as the New York Times reports, Broidy had some special perks to encourage doing business with his company.
Mr. Broidy suggested to clients and prospective customers of his Virginia-based defense contracting company, Circinus, that he could broker meetings with Mr. Trump, his administration and congressional allies.
But selling access was just the start. Brody’s partner Nader got some focus back in January when special counsel Robert Mueller noted his frequent presence at the White House and connection with Steve Bannon. But it wasn’t just arranging a get-together for one of Trump’s advisers and the head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund that drew attention to Broidy and Nader. Because they were up to something larger than just peddling access to Donald Trump and special visits to Mar-a-lago.
They sold permission to start a war.
Two people tell the AP that Nader wired $2.5 million to the Trump fundraiser, Elliott Broidy, through a company in Canada. They say Nader paid the money to Broidy to bankroll an effort to persuade the U.S. to take a hard line against Qatar, a longtime American ally but now a bitter adversary of the UAE.
In the midst of that push from the UAE , Jared Kushner’s company was meeting with the finance minister of Qatar. The Kushner family is in dire need of more than $1 billion to pay off Jared’s bad deal on New York’s most expensive, and least attractive, office building, and so far they’ve been turned down by everyone from Israel to China to South Korea in their search for funds.
Jared Kushner claims that his company had already made their mind up to turn down any money from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, even if it was offered. Which is interesting if it’s true—because the Kushners had already attempted to secure funds from at least two other sovereign wealth funds without success. It’s also interesting if it’s false, because just a couple of weeks after that meeting, Kushner was in Saudi Arabia, meeting with Prince bin Salman. And just days after that, the Saudis and UAE both got exactly what Nader and Broidy were selling.
During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
With the tacit approval of the United States, Saudi Arabia and the UAE launched a blockade that crippled trade with Qatar.
And this week, Saudi Arabia got another wish fulfilled.
The Trump administration is signing off on selling more than $1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visits the United States.
Included in the deal are 6,700 anti-tank missiles—just the sort of thing you need for home defense. Saudi Arabia quite obviously plans to feed these weapons to their troops fighting in Yemen. Previously, the U.S. had expressed concerns about the level of civilian deaths Saudi Arabian forces were causing in Yemen … but that concern seems to have evaporated.
From the outside, not everything that’s happened between the parties involved is visible. But it certainly appears that the UAE paid Nader and Broidy to intervene on their behalf. That intervention may have either caused Kushner to cut off connections with Qatar, or a no from Qatar may have pushed Kushner more toward Saudi Arabia and the UAE. A visit to Saudi Arabia had bin Salman claiming that Kushner was “in his pocket” and Trump tweeting his support for attacks on Qatar.
There’s so much smoke in this situation that it will be amazing if there is not a raging blaze behind it.
What makes this possible is exactly the idea that Trump continually puts forward—that he’s the only one making decisions. That makes it possible for his friends and associates to bypass any of the normal protocols or obstacles and pitch their business deals right on the resolute desk. And that level of access is pure gold for the people who have Trump’s ear.
Mr. Broidy offered tickets to V.I.P. inauguration events, including a candlelight dinner attended by Mr. Trump, to a Congolese strongman accused of funding a lavish lifestyle with public resources. He helped arrange a meeting with Republican senators and offered a trip to Mar-a-Lago, the president’s private Florida resort, for an Angolan politician. And he arranged an invitation to a party at Mr. Trump’s Washington hotel for a Romanian parliamentarian facing corruption charges, who posted a photograph with the president on Facebook.
And it’s not just Trump who has opened his doors to large scale “gifts.” Other Republicans have gotten the message that this is open season for corruption.
Three days before inauguration, the Angolans submitted a $6 million payment to Circinus, which people close to Mr. Broidy say was $2 million less than the Angolans had agreed to pay. That same day, the Angolans and Mr. Broidy met on Capitol Hill with senators including Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, both Republicans, encounters arranged by Mr. Broidy and his team.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.