Qatar says it has unearthed damaging information on Jared Kushner - but reportedly decided not to give it to Mueller because they're scared of Trump
- Qatar says White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and others in the Trump administration were convinced to change their foreign policy by the UAE and Kushner's own business interests in the region.
- Qatari officials reportedly decided not to share this information with special counsel Robert Mueller for fear of angering President Donald Trump and damaging Qatar's relationship with the US.
- Kushner's business interests in foreign countries have come under scrutiny by Mueller's team, as it investigates whether they had any bearing on Trump's foreign policy.
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Qatari officials say they have information that the United Arab Emirates exerted illegal influence over White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and others close to President Donald Trump through a series of secret meetings that shifted the administration's Middle East policy - and they say Kushner's personal business interests in the region played a role as well, according to NBC News.
The officials claim they have discovered that George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who served as an adviser to the UAE, and Republican donor Elliott Broidy participated in a series of secret meetings that might have led to Trump taking the UAE's side in a diplomatic row with Qatar last year.
But the Qataris ultimately decided not to reveal this information to special counsel Robert Mueller's team after they met with Trump in Washington, DC in January and February of this year, NBC reported. Because the meetings with Trump seemed like they might improve the diplomatic situation between the two countries, the officials kept the information from Mueller for fear of angering Trump and spoiling any gains they might have made.
Mueller's team is reportedly looking into how Kushner's foreign business ties in Qatar, Russia, China, Turkey, and the UAE might have influenced Trump's foreign policy. Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that several countries, including the UAE, had identified Kushner as a senior administration official that they could easily influence.
Trump decided to side with the UAE and Saudi Arabia in its row with Qatar soon after an investment deal that Kushner's family had been pursuing in Qatar fell through, according to the Intercept.
Meetings in the Seychelles and the Qatar crisis
All of this took place in the wake of several meetings, including one in the Seychelles that garnered public attention earlier this month, that involved Nader and people with ties to Trump, like private security entrepreneur Erik Prince. The purpose of this particular meeting was apparently to set up a communication back-channel between the US and Russia.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Although Prince claimed he was not acting as a Trump representative in the Seychelles meeting, Mueller's team reportedly has evidence that he was.
The high-profile diplomatic falling out between Qatar and several powerful Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt took place last year as Qatar was cultivating closer ties to Iran.
The Saudi-Emirati block accused Qatar of being a state sponsor of terrorism, and cut off diplomatic ties with it. Trump eventually took their side on the matter, despite protest from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
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