Fact check: did Trump-Russia witness George Nader flee the country?

This week it was reported that George Nader, a cooperating witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal since January, had fled the United States. This set off an immediate round of speculation among the media and the public about what the incident might mean for the Mueller probe, as Nader was in prime position to testify about the activities of Erik Prince, the Russian government, and possibly Jared Kushner among others. The trouble: he didn’t actually “flee” from anything. In our fact check, we take a look at what really happened here.

On March 22nd, the Daily Mail, a major British newspaper with a spotty track record, ran this headline, claiming it to be an exclusive: “Mueller probe witness who met Jared Kushner and was ‘best friends’ with Steve Bannon flees the country after being revealed as a pedophile.” The report further claimed that the Trump administration had pulled strings to help Nader flee to United Arab Emirates. This sent a number of media pundits off to the races with theories about how the Trump-Russia investigation might be unraveling, even as Trump flexed his muscles to sabotage the investigation. This led a number of members of the Resistance to express concern on social media. But then the facts began to surface.

Nader’s attorney told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that the Daily Mail story was untrue, and that Nader travels back and forth between the United States and the UAE on a regular basis (link). The attorney’s claim is backed up by a New York Times report that Robert Mueller has granted Nader immunity in the Trump-Russia investigation (link). By definition there is nothing to “flee” from if you’ve already been given a legal guarantee that you won’t be prosecuted.

As for the Daily Mail’s claim that George Nader was “revealed as a pedophile,” court records dug up by The Atlantic reveal that Nader was indicted on child porn charges in 1985, but that the charges were thrown out on a technicality, and Nader was never convicted (link). That once again leaves Nader with nothing to “flee” from, as he is in no danger of prosecution on this matter. As such, when it comes to the claim that George Nader has fled the country, this is false. The real story is that Mueller has given Nader immunity.

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