It’s now clear that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is now looking into a whole lot more than just Russia.
A set of recent reports citing witnesses interviewed in Mueller’s probe all suggest that the special counsel is pursuing angles related to potentially corrupt foreign influence on a wide range of people in Trump’s orbit with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, and China all being mentioned as subjects of his investigators’ questioning.
First, CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz, Kara Scannell, and Gloria Borger reported that Mueller was looking into Jared Kushner’s efforts to get foreign investors for his family real estate company’s projects during the transition and that his investigators have asked witnesses about Kushner’s talks with a Chinese insurance company and with a former prime minister of Qatar.
Then, NBC News’s Carol Lee, Julia Ainsley, and Robert Windrem reported that Mueller’s team has also asked about Kushner’s conversations with potential investors from Russia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates — with an eye toward whether these business talks “later shaped White House policies.” (The report claims that Qatari officials claim to have evidence that Kushner coordinated with Gulf states to hurt Qatar, but have “decided against cooperating with Mueller for now out of fear it would further strain the country’s relations with the White House.”)
Then, this weekend, the New York Times’ Mark Mazzetti, David Kirkpatrick, and Maggie Haberman reported that businessman George Nader, an adviser to the United Arab Emirates government who visited the White House several times last year, had become a focus of Mueller’s probe.
Investigators have specifically asked “about any possible attempts by the Emiratis to buy political influence by directing money to support Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign,” the Times reports.
Finally, Axios’s Jonathan Swan got a hold of a grand jury subpoena Mueller’s team sent to a witness this February.
The subpoena demands “all communications” this person sent or received involving not only Trump himself, but nine other named Trump associates since November 1, 2015. In addition to the fact that the subpoena names many people, note that it is not limited in any way to Russia-related communications.
All this paints a picture of a very wide-ranging investigation that’s digging into not just Russian interference with the 2016 campaign and Russian ties to Trump, but potentially corrupt foreign influence involving a wide circle of Trump associates.