The New York Times reported Sunday that Gulf emissary George Nader met with Donald Trump, Jr. at Trump Tower in 2016 and told him that the crown princes of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia desired to help his father win the presidential election.
The Times noted that this meeting and other communications are the first indication that foreign actors apart from Russia might have offered assistance to the Trump campaign prior to the election.
Also present at the meeting was an Israeli political strategist named Joel Zamel, whose company chalked up a plan to manipulate social media in an effort to help elect Trump, the Times reported.
It remains unclear whether the plan was executed, and a lawyer for Zamel denied to the Times that his client carried out a campaign on behalf of Trump.
Erik Prince, the founder of private security firm Blackwater and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is reported to have orchestrated the meeting.
Trump Jr.’s attorney did not deny the meeting but told the Times that “prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader and another individual who may be Joel Zamel. They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it.”
Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to investigate Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, is reportedly looking into interactions between Nader and Zamel.