Today’s big New York Times deep dive into Mueller mania reports on the latest wedge of the investigation. This one involves a meeting three months before the election of Donald Trump, Jr. with Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation, and George Nader, an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes, from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Times story by Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman, and David Kirkpatrick (with a little help from Maggie Haberman) is headlined “Trump Jr. and other aides met with Gulf emissary offering help to win election.” As always in these stories, the false implications of wrongdoing remain “unclear.”
All in all, what we have here is “the first indication that countries other than Russia may have offered assistance to the Trump campaign in the months before the presidential election.” And whence the information about this meeting and others? “The interactions are a focus of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, who was originally tasked with examining possible Trump campaign coordination with Russia in the election.”
The attorney for Don Jr. comments: “[P]rior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader, and another individual who may be Joel Zamel. They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it.”
One can hardly avoid noting that we seem to have lost the thread, but the Times is in search. Whether or not this wedge of the investigation has anything to do with Russian interference in the election remains, well, unclear. The Times puts it this way: “The August 2016 meeting has echoes of another Trump Tower meeting two months earlier, also under scrutiny by the special counsel, when Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign aides met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. No evidence has emerged suggesting that the August meeting was set up with a similar premise.”
JOHN adds: Perhaps the Times is unaware that just about every business in America is pitched by someone offering social media marketing expertise approximately once a week. If Mueller doesn’t have anything a great deal better than this, he should close up shop.