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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s investigation who had ties to President TrumpDonald John TrumpUPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report Controversial GOP Georgia candidate attempts to distance from QAnon Trump orders TikTok parent company to sell US assets within 90 days 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 ClintonMcGrath reshuffles campaign in home stretch to Senate election Appeals court blocks Hillary Clinton deposition on private email server What Biden must do to keep his lead and win 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 KushnerJared Kushner denies Trump 'promoting' questions about Kamala Harris The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump goes birther again; no deal on COVID-19 package 5 takeaways from Israel and UAE opening diplomatic ties MORE, the president’s son-in-law.