NBC News says Qatari officials have information about Jared Kushner's activities that point to illegal foreign influence but have not turned it over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller so as not to risk damaging U.S.-Qatari relations.
Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration ...
Qatari officials believe the meetings — as well as fallout from Qatari business dealings with Kushner — may have influenced President Trump's public endorsement of a blockade of Qatar by its neighbors that began last year.
Ten days ago, NBC News first reported on Mueller's probe into whether Kushner's personal financial interests were dictating the administration's foreign policy decisions. Now the story has evolved.
NBC News previously reported that Qatari officials weighed speaking to Mueller during a visit to Washington earlier this year, and has now learned the information the officials wanted to share included details about [Lebanese-American businessman George] Nader and [Republican donor Elliott] Broidy working with the UAE to turn the Trump administration against Qatar,
We since have learned Nader is cooperating with the special counsel.
The following allegedly is what Qatari officials believe is happening and why.
In June 2017, President Trump endorsed the decision led by UAE and Saudi Arabia to blockade Qatar, saying the Qatar was funding terrorism. On June 5, the president tweeted, "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to horror of terrorism!" The blockade has cut the country off from shipments of food and medical supplies by land and sea.
Since then, according to Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings, both governments have greatly increased their hiring of American lobbyists, including some former Trump campaign officials.
Qatari officials believe Trump's verbal backing of the blockade was a form of retaliation by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, whose family's negotiations with Qatari investors had recently fallen apart, according to several sources familiar with the Qatari government's thinking.
According to the sources, the officials have information they claim details Nader's involvement in a December 2016 meeting that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE had with Trump officials at Trump Tower, including Kushner, incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn and incoming chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Read more: Qataris opted not to give info on Kushner, secret meetings to Mueller (NBC News)