Special counsel Robert Mueller has expanded the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election with a subpoena on work of Israeli businessman Joel Zamel's private consulting firms and reported ties to the United Arab Emirates, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
"This is much ado about nothing," Zamel's attorney Marc Mukasey told the Journal.
". . . [Zamel] offered nothing to the Trump campaign, received nothing from the Trump campaign, delivered nothing to the Trump campaign, and was not solicited by, or asked to do anything for, the Trump campaign."
The work of Zamel's companies Wikistrat and the Psy Group are of interest to the special counsel, and the reports of the investigation expanding outside of Russian influence are likely the cause of President Donald Trump's pointed tweets Sunday afternoon.
President Trump added a demand the Justice Department look into the "political purposes" of Trump campaign investigations and who might have directed the efforts from the Obama administration.
Wikistrat is characterized as a crowdsourced analysis firm, while the Psy Group is "a secretive private intelligence firm with the motto 'shape reality,'" according to the Journal.
Along with George Nader, an adviser to the UAE crown prince, and U.S. defense contractor Erik Prince, Zamel reportedly met with Donald Trump Jr. before the 2016 presidential election. After the election, Nader reportedly made a $2 million payment to Zamel, according to the WSJ report.
"Prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Eric Prince [sic], George Nader, and another individual who may be Joel Zamel," Donald Jr. attorney Alan Futerfas wrote in a statement, per the Journal. "They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy . . . [Donald Jr.] was not interested and that was the end of it."
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