Yes, Donald Trump had another weekend Twitter meltdown that spilled into Monday but the biggest news of the weekend by far was a New York Times report that Don Jr. met with a representative of two Gulf State countries that were eager to help elect Trump. Guess what else: it appears Jr. was happy for the assistance and never thought to inform federal authorities about the August 2016 Trump Tower Two meeting.
Donald Trump Jr. responded approvingly, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting…
Of course. The second Trump Tower meeting featured several familiar players besides Don Jr., including UAE adviser George Nader and private security contractor/Trump associate Erik Prince, both of whom played prominent roles in the secret Seychelles meeting between Prince and a Russian operative shortly before Trump’s inauguration. The other attendee was an Israeli social media specialist named Joel Zamel, whose firm had already reportedly mapped out a multimillion-dollar media manipulation plan to boost Trump’s candidacy. Whether that plan was ever executed remains in question.
But remember, Mueller is reportedly investigating whether UAE funneled money to Trump’s campaign, and establishing an actual meeting between Don Jr. and UAE representative Nader where elevating Trump’s candidacy was a key topic of conversation is a significant advancement of that narrative. Nader, who has key Russian ties too, is cooperating with Mueller’s team and increasingly becoming central to the conspiracy probe.
Trump Tower Two not only represents another instance in which Team Trump appears to have welcomed help from a foreign government, it also gives context to some of the Trump administration’s early and surprising foreign policy moves.
After those initial offers of help, Mr. Nader was quickly embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers — meeting frequently with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Michael T. Flynn, who became the president’s first national security adviser.
Keep in mind several things:
1. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are bitter rivals and Trump mysteriously chose last summer to side with the Saudis, UAE, and several other Gulf States in a spat between them and Qatar. (Trump has since begun to reverse course on that stance amid news reports that Qatar is finalizing a deal to provide the funds to rescue the Kushner family business from a ruinous billion-dollar real estate investment in Manhattan.)
2. The Saudis and UAE strongly opposed the Obama administration’s Middle East policies and the Iran nuclear deal it brokered. In fact, early in the Trump administration, Nader was promoting a secret plan to use private contractors to destabilize Iran. Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal earlier this month.
3. State-linked news outlets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE savaged Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state.
So not only was Don Jr. apparently eager to accept help from foreign governments, the Trump administration’s early moves suggest he sold America’s foreign policy in the process—at least, until someone made the Trump family a better offer.