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Reporter's Notebook

How George Nader Wormed His Way Into Trump’s Orbit

**HOLD FOR STORY TO MOVE OVERNIGHT. WDC WILL ADVISE TIMING** This photo acquired by The Associated Press is copied from a leaked email sent by Elliott Broidy and shows George Nader posing for a photo with President Donald Trump back stage at an RNC fund raiser in Dallas on Oct. 25, 2017. (AP Photo)
In this Oct. 25, 2017, photo acquired by The Associated Press, George Nader poses backstage with President Donald Trump at a Republican fundraiser in Dallas. Nader, a convicted pedophile, was told by the Secret Servi... In this Oct. 25, 2017, photo acquired by The Associated Press, George Nader poses backstage with President Donald Trump at a Republican fundraiser in Dallas. Nader, a convicted pedophile, was told by the Secret Service that he could not meet the president. His business partner, Elliott Broidy, helped him secure this photo with the president. (AP Photo) MORE LESS
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June 3, 2019 6:07 p.m.

Before George Nader became a witness for the sweeping Russia investigation, he’d spent decades working as a shady power broker who flitted between the US and the Middle East. But Nader — who was indicted Monday on child pornography charges —didn’t truly catch American investigators’ attention until he tried to ingratiate himself into President Donald Trump’s orbit.

The Lebanese-American businessman worked as a fixer for Arab leaders and US lawmakers until 2003, when he was convicted of sexually abusing minors in the Czech Republic and sentenced to one year in prison there.

Somehow, as the Associated Press documented, Nader’s career managed to stay intact. He became a military contractor in Iraq following the end of the 2003 war there. That’s where he linked up with Blackwater founder and fellow contractor Erik Prince. He subsequently moved to the United Arab Emirates and became an advisor to Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

Nader would later invite both Prince and bin Zayed to two key meetings that raised red flags for Mueller’s team.

The first was a Trump Tower meeting in December 2016, which included Nader, Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and bin Zayed. According to the New York Times, it was a strategy meeting that aimed to boost the Trump campaign.

Nader held a second meeting a month later in the Seychelles, this time with Erik Prince, bin Zayed, and a Russian banker named Kirill Dmitriev. The Washington Post reported that this meeting was meant to create a secret backchannel to the Russian government.

According to the Mueller report, Russian president Vladimir Putin had Dmitriev contact Nader in order to get connected with Trump transition officials.

And then there’s Nader’s partnership with Republican megadonor Elliott Broidy. Nader and Brody met each other at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and they decided to work together to push anti-Qatar legislation through Congress at the behest of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The reward? $1 billion dollars in military contracts from both nations.

Unfortunately for them both, the FBI intercepted Nader at Washington-Dulles airport in January 2018 and subsequently found child pornography on his phone. That’s when he became a key witness for Mueller, who was especially interested in the two meetings Nader had organized.

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