George Nader, the international political operative who famously helped set up the Seychelles meeting between Erik Prince and the Russian government, and then went on to cooperate with Robert Mueller in exchange for limited immunity, has now been arrested. The charges have nothing to do with the Trump-Russia scandal, but the arrest could nonetheless have a major impact on the scandal going forward.
Nader has been indicted and arrested in New York on new charges of child pornography, according to several major news outlets. Because he has a history of cooperating with prosecutors, if he concludes that he’s going to end up in prison, he’ll likely try to cut a cooperation deal on these charges. That raises a few tricky questions.
First, if Nader is guilty of child pornography, then there’s not much leniency prosecutors can give him no matter how much he cooperates, due to the hideous nature of the crime. So he’d have to be willing to accept a minor reduction in what would still be a very long prison sentence. Second, major media outlets reported in early 2018 that Nader was cooperating with Mueller in the Trump-Russia scandal, and then reported several months later that he had ceased cooperating with Mueller, so we don’t know how much or little else he might be able to give up at this point.
Third, it’s not entirely clear who George Nader would cooperate with at this point. Robert Mueller is off the job, and while several of his Trump-Russia related investigations have been spun off and are ongoing, little is known about most of them. Can the DOJ work around William Barr to get Nader to cooperate against people like Prince? Could Prince then be forced to flip on Trump? Can Barr sabotage any such cooperation? In any case, Barr wasn’t able to stop Nader from being arrested, which suggests that at least some factions of the DOJ are still functioning as they should.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report