The ‘Russia Probe’ Is No Longer About Russia, But Also Saudi Arabia And Israel

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza/Public Domain

Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly has moved beyond Russia to investigate possible Middle Eastern influence.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation reportedly has moved beyond the bounds of Russia and into global territory, which sources told The Daily Beast will be revealed in court documents filed in early 2019.

While one part of the Mueller team has indicted Russian spies and troll-masters, another cadre has been spending its time focusing on how Middle Eastern countries pushed cash to Washington politicos in an attempt to sway policy under President Trump’s administration. Various witnesses affiliated with the Trump campaign have been questioned about their conversations with deeply connected individuals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, according to people familiar with the probe. Topics in those meetings ranged from the use of social-media manipulation to help install Trump in the White House to the overthrow of the regime in Iran.

Now, according to those same sources, the Special Counsel’s Office is ready to outline what cooperating witnesses have told them about foreigners’ plans to help Trump win the presidency. Two sources with knowledge of the probe said Mueller’s team has for months discussed the possibility of issuing new charges on this side of the investigation.

“If this is going to be unveiled, this would be like the surfacing of the submarine but on the other plank which we haven’t seen,” said Harry Litman, a former U.S. attorney. “I guess what Mueller has to date has turned out to be pretty rich and detailed and more than we anticipated. This could turn out to be a rich part of the overall story.”

The Daily Beast noted that this newly revealed arm of the Mueller investigation does not appear to jive with the special counsel’s mandate from the Justice Department to examine potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, as well as possible obstruction of justice.

“For something like this to happen, Mueller would have needed to get approval from [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein for this,” Litman said. “It’s not really in the original grant of jurisdiction and it appears then that he made his case to Rosenstein some time ago and that Rosenstein agreed.”

Some of the key players involved include former national security adviser Michael Flynn; George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman and emissary to the UAE; Joel Zamel, a businessman with deep ties to Israeli intelligence; and John Hannah, a former aide to Dick Cheney and a senior counselor at right-wing think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Read the details here.

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