Jan 21, 2018

Scoop: Mueller's interest in a mysterious White House visitor

Mueller, silhouetted, leaves the U.S. Capitol building after a meeting. Photo: Zach Gibson / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has been talking with George Nader, a little-known Bannon associate who boasts of his well-placed connections in the Middle East, Axios has learned.

Nader has spoken with Mueller's team at least twice, according to a source briefed on the investigation. A second source briefed on the investigation confirmed that Mueller's team has brought Nader in for questioning in the past week. The Special Counsel's office declined to comment.

Nader visited the White House frequently during the early months of the Trump administration. He became friendly with former chief strategist Steve Bannon, visiting his office regularly. A source familiar with the White House meetings said Jared Kushner also met Nader. After asking around about Nader, Kushner decided not to continue meeting with him, according to the same source.

Sources said Nader represented himself as being personally close to Mohammed bin Zayed — the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. But several sources who've observed Nader in action say he frequently name-drops, and that while he might be part of MbZ's extended entourage, it's unclear how influential he actually is.

A number of well-connected and experienced Middle East hands in Washington told me they'd never heard of Nader. I could only find a few people who have met him. Nobody was quite clear about what he does for a living.

A source who knows Nader told me he's originally Lebanese, and is now a U.S. citizen. I couldn’t reach him for comment.

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