Reacting to the report, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to blast “a long & boring story,” The New York Times had done, highlighting that the “most expensive Witch Hunt” had found no collusion between the Kremlin and his campaign, and now it’s turned to the rest of the world.
Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 20 мая 2018 г.
….At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 20 мая 2018 г.
…in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 20 мая 2018 г.
According to the report, the special counsel’s team is investigating contacts between Joel Zamel, an Israeli social media expert, and George Nader, a special adviser to leaders of the UAE, who purportedly offered to help Donald Trump win the race.
The New York Times suggested that the third person, who served as a mediator, having arranged the meeting between the two, was Erik Prince, former head of the Blackwater private security contractor.
According to the NYT piece, by that time, the company had already worked out a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to increase Trump’s chances to win. At the same time, the media outlet stated that it is unclear if the proposal was eventually executed, but reported, citing a source with knowledge of the meeting, that Trump Jr. approved of the plan.
The NYT claimed that Nader transferred a generous amount of money (allegedly as much as $2 million) to Zamel after Trump was elected.
“There are conflicting accounts of the reason for the payment, but among other things, a company linked to Mr. Zamel provided Mr. Nader with an elaborate presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Mr. Trump’s victory,” the report read.
The report suggested that Zamel was questioned by Mueller’s investigators and at least two FBI agents were sent to Israel to interview the firm’s employees; the special counsel’s team also cooperated with the Israel Police to confiscate computers of one of Zamel’s companies. The media outlet also stated, citing sources familiar with the case that “investigators have questioned numerous witnesses in Washington, New York, Atlanta, Tel Aviv and elsewhere about what foreign help may have been pledged or accepted.”
Zamel’s attorney denied his client had participated in the Trump campaign:
“Neither Joel Zamel, nor any of his related entities, had any involvement whatsoever in the U.S. election campaign. The D.O.J. clarified from Day 1 that Joel and his companies have never been a target of the investigation. My client provided full cooperation to the government to assist with their investigation,” said the lawyer, Marc L. Mukasey.
Kathryn Ruemmler, a lawyer for Nader, also claimed that her client “has fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation and will continue to do so.”
According to the NYT, Erik Prince refused to comment on the report, while the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
In late April, the US House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee found no collusion between Trump and the Kremlin, which prompted many officials, including US Vice-President Mike Pence, to urge Mueller to “wrap up” his year-long probe.