The story has been largely shoved aside in the minds of the media and the public, in the wake of Donald Trump’s racism scandal and government shutdown. But Steve Bannon’s decision to fully cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller arguably marks the largest turning point in the Trump-Russia investigation to date. It now appears Mueller relied on more than merely Bannon’s thirst for revenge when it came to reeling him in.
We all saw the reports that Mueller sent FBI agents to Bannon’s house, and it resulted in a shouting match. We saw Bannon hauled before the House Intelligence Committee, where he was only willing to answer the questions that Trump wanted him to answer. Yet by the end of it all, Bannon had delivered himself into Mueller’s arms. How much of what preceded was merely for show, to keep Trump off track? How much of it represented a legitimate tussle between Mueller and Bannon? We may never know. But now we know that Mueller was sitting on an insurance policy named George Nader.
Who is George Nader? We have no idea, beyond the fact that he’s a close associate of Bannon, and that according to a new Axios report, Mueller has met with Nader twice in recent weeks (link). Even that report admits that “Nobody was quite clear about what he does for a living.” But he’s clearly central enough to Steve Bannon’s orbit that Mueller targeted him as a way of getting information on Bannon, which he presumably used in order to get to Bannon.
Robert Mueller has found a different weak spot when it comes to each of his key witnesses. George Papadopoulos liked to get drunk and brag. Michael Flynn made the mistake of dragging his son into his criminal antics. We still don’t know who George Nader is, but based on the timeline, it’s fairly clear that Mueller somehow used Nader to get to Steve Bannon.
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