Mueller witness linked to Trump charged in scheme to illegally funnel money to Clinton campaign

Federal prosecutors announced charges against a witness in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE’s investigation who had ties to President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE’s inner circle with conducting a conspiracy to direct $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to bodies supporting Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSupreme Court agrees to hear 'faithless elector' cases Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Climate 'religion' is fueling Australia's wildfires MORE in the 2016 presidential race.

Prosecutors accused Lebanese American businessman George Nader, along with Andy Khawaja, the head of California payment-processing company Allied Wallet, of funneling millions of dollars into campaign organizations, political parties and political action committees that backed Clinton without revealing the true source of the funds. 

“By design, these contributions appeared to be in the names of Khawaja, his wife, and his company. In reality, they allegedly were funded by Nader,” prosecutors said Tuesday.

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Khawaja and Nader are accused of making the contributions in an effort to gain sway with several “high-level political figures, including the candidate.”

Authorities also said that Nader discussed his efforts to influence the figures with an official from a foreign government. The government was not identified by the Justice Department, but Nader has been known to serve as an adviser to the government of the United Arab Emirates. 

The 53-count indictment also ensnares six other co-conspirators, who allegedly helped funnel the money and were reimbursed.

Nader is currently in custody awaiting trial after being arrested in June on charges surrounding child pornography and sexual abuse of a minor. He was also convicted of transporting child pornography in 1991.

It is possible that Nader sought to use Khawaja to conceal his contributions under the belief that his criminal history would bring undue attention to the funds and the Clinton campaign.

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Nader and Khawaja discussed during the 2016 campaign the threats they viewed a Trump presidency would pose to Arab countries. However, the two men pivoted after Trump’s victory, with Nader serving as a go-between for the Trump administration and the governments of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, a role that landed him in Mueller’s crosshairs. Khawaja built a relationship with Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy and members of the incoming administration. 

Khawaja’s company ultimately donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, and Khawaja later had a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office.

Nader reportedly attended several White House meetings in the early months of the Trump administration, including with then-chief strategist Stephen Bannon and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerDOJ releases new tranche of Mueller witness documents Jared Kushner's sister-in-law Karlie Kloss says she will vote against Trump in 2020 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senate receives impeachment articles as trial opens MORE, the president’s son-in-law.