Qatar government officials collected what they allege is damaging information on the United Arab Emirates’ influence on senior White House adviser Jared Kushner in secret meetings, but chose not to hand the evidence over to special counsel Robert Mueller, NBC News reported Monday.
The Qatari officials decided against cooperating with Mueller for now, out of fear it would further strain the country’s relations with the White House, the individuals told NBC News.
According to the NBC report, Qatar has information about a secret meeting in December 2016, a month before the U.S. presidential election, between UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Kushner, incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn and incoming chief strategist Steve Bannon at Trump Tower.
A report earlier this month said Mueller’s team of investigators was looking into whether an adviser to the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates has influenced White House policymaking.
The report said Mueller’s team was looking into a Lebanese-American businessman and adviser to the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the crown prince of the UAE.
That businessman, George Nader, visited the White House frequently last year, according to the report. Investigators are examining Nader’s role in the White House’s policymaking and asking about efforts by the Emirates to influence the Trump administration.
A spokesman for Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell said the report was the “mischief” of unnamed sources conducting a “misinformation campaign” to mislead the news media.
“Mr. Kushner’s role in the campaign and transition was to be a point person for completely appropriate contacts from foreign officials, and he did not mix his or his former company’s business in those contacts,” the spokesman, Peter Mirijanian, said in a statement. “Any claim otherwise is false.”
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