George Nader’s Equal Opportunity Foreign Influence Peddling
George Nader was just indicted again, this time in a straw donor conspiracy involving Allied Wallet CEO Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja and a bunch of other people.
A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja, 48, of Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 7, 2019, along with George Nader, Roy Boulos, Rudy Dekermenjian, Mohammad “Moe” Diab, Rani El-Saadi, Stevan Hill and Thayne Whipple. The 53 count indictment charges Khawaja with two counts of conspiracy, three counts of making conduit contributions, three counts of causing excessive contributions, 13 counts of making false statements, 13 counts of causing false records to be filed, and one count of obstruction of a federal grand jury investigation. Nader is charged with conspiring with Khawaja to make conduit campaign contributions, and related offenses. Boulos, Dekermenjian, Diab, El-Saadi, Hill, and Whipple are charged with conspiring with Khawaja and each other to make conduit campaign contributions and conceal excessive contributions, and related offenses.
According to the indictment, from March 2016 through January 2017, Khawaja conspired with Nader to conceal the source of more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions, directed to political committees associated with a candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election. By design, these contributions appeared to be in the names of Khawaja, his wife, and his company. In reality, they allegedly were funded by Nader. Khawaja and Nader allegedly made these contributions in an effort to gain influence with high-level political figures, including the candidate.
The primary recipient of all this cash was Hillary, not Trump, leading some partisans to worry that this represents Bill Barr further politicizing DOJ.
That’s a stupid stance to begin with. The purpose of this straw contribution scheme was to allow foreigners — in this case, almost certainly Mohammed bin Zayed — to influence our elections. This is the same kind of conspiracy that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were indicted for. And all Americans should hope that this kind of foreign influence peddling gets identified and aggressively prosecuted.
But there are a number of reasons why it’s probably not a partisan focus. Indeed, it may be one step in a process to hold Nader accountable for the influence peddling he did with Trump.
During 2016, Nader was working both sides of the aisle. That’s a detail included in the Mueller Report.
That suggests someone — probably MbZ — was buying access to both candidates, to cover any eventuality. Mueller obviously focused on the Russian aspect of it, but the primary benefactor of all this influence peddling was surely Nader’s primary patron, MbZ.
Nader’s lawyer seem to have known this (and possibly other) charges were coming, because they asked Chief DC Judge Beryl Howell for access to his grand jury transcripts, which she ordered DOJ to provide him back in October. (DOJ had tried to prevent this because he was asked about multiple other ongoing investigations.) It seemed that Nader’s lawyers wanted the transcripts — appropriately — to understand the full scope of the testimony for which he had been immunized by Mueller. The assertion that Nader was working both sides cite one FBI interview and a (redacted) grand jury appearance, so obviously some of his efforts to cultivate Democrats came up during Mueller’s investigation.
But undoubtedly the primary focus of Mueller’s questions was on Trump.
The indictment hasn’t yet been posted, but it sounds like it either charges — or sets up charges — for Nader being a foreign agent, because it references Nader reporting back on his efforts to gain access to politicians, a key feature of foreign agent (of either variety — FARA or 951) charges.
As Khawaja and Nader arranged these payments, Nader allegedly reported to an official from a foreign government about his efforts to gain influence.
Again, it may be that Mueller couldn’t develop that case because he granted Nader immunity for his testimony.
But it’s also possible that Nader remained exposed for such charges for his Democratic influence peddling.
If DOJ had to use Nader’s bipartisan influence peddling to hold him accountable for being a key vector for foreign influence in our elections, I’ll take it.
Nader: Unsafe at any speed-dial
Lol. You worked overtime on that one!
burning the scandal at both ends!:-)
Emptywheel T-Shirt Concession. Just sayin’.
It is surprising that this, along with many other things about the weird course of George Nader, isn’t a larger story. I am guessing that there will be a section of people who glomp onto it, because at least now there is some factual basis to talk about Hillary Clinton’s ties to an international pedophile. Of course, they will have to conveniently forget Trump’s own ties.
I have two major takeaways from it:
1. Many people have said that what is happening right now is more or less the evisceration of the Republican Party, and that it won’t survive in a recognizable shape after Trump. I think the same is true of the Democratic Party: just that a big portion of the Democratic Party, both voters and officials, have already recognized that and are moving on. Neither party is going to return to its situation in 2015, it is just that the Democratic Party recognizes that.
2. I am guessing that whatever Nader knew about was so critical that Mueller or the National Security Division wanted to get the information from him, rather than make a prosecution. I get the feeling that whatever criminal charges occur around Nader are just the tip of the iceberg, and that the main story was in counterintelligence stuff that might not come to light for decades.
Clinton isn’t running, so a connection as indirect as this one is, is even less relevant that it looks to “a section of people”.
i cannot stop being astonished that a u.s. dept of justice led by att. gen. william barr is still both prosecuting and indicting individuals associated with the 2016 trump-putin (russian government) election manipulation.
i suppose the simple – or simple-minded 😊 – answer is that the ass’t attorney generals in their respective jurisdictions are doing what the law and their professional credo requires. but why is not attorney general barr, with his republican-president-protecting historical m.o., not indulging in some legal sophistry to deep six trials and indictments that might further reveal trump election corruption?
to be sure this is about candidate clinton, and so offers a valuable propaganda opportunity – both sides did “it”, equally being implied, wrongly. but the risks to trump going into a reelection 12 months would seem substantial.
could barr being working both sides of the republican political fence – appearing to protect trump while also protecting the party from greater long-term damage and working to rid the party of trump?
i just read thru the comments here:
THE ORIGIN OF THE SHARPIE QUID PRO QUO DENIAL: AN EFFORT TO CRAFT A COVER STORY ON THE PAGES OF THE WSJ
much useful detailed knowledge plus commentary at a higher level.
i found this general comment particularly insightful and thought it worth repeating:
“… clark says:
November 30, 2019 at 5:59 pm
No one is running things, because Trump respects no one. He just blunders ahead and leaves it to others, who need him to stay in power, men like Moscow Mitch to backstop him. The military knows he makes decisions first and examines the situation after, if ever. There is no five dimensional chess game in his head. There’s no mastermind.
Trump wants irrational things, believes irrational things and does irrational things. “It is what it is.” ..”
impulsive, operating on prejudices composed from prejudiced news reporting, irrational for sure – on trade national security, and immigration for sure.