Donald Trump Jr met in August 2016 with an envoy representing the crown princes of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who sought to help his father’s presidential campaign, the New York Times reported.
During the Trump Tower meeting, the envoy, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, told Trump Jr, that the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE were eager to help his father win the 2016 presidential election, according to the report.
The meeting, which the report said was facilitated by Erik Prince, the founder and former head of private military contractor Blackwater, would be the first evidence that countries other than Russia sought to influence the US election in favour of Donald Trump.
Citing several anonymous sources with knowledge of the meeting, the report said Joel Zamel, cofounder of an Israeli consulting firm, was also in attendance at the meeting.
Alan Futerfas, laywer for Trump Jr, said in a statement on Saturday that nothing came of the meeting.
“Prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader and another individual who may be Joel Zamel.
“They pitched Mr Trump Jr on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested, and that was the end of it.”
Kathryn Ruemmler, a lawyer for Nader, said, “Mr Nader has fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation and will continue to do so.”
Since 1974, the US has barred foreign nationals from giving money to political campaigns, and it later barred them from donating to political parties.
The campaign financing laws also prohibit foreign nationals from coordinating with a campaign and from buying ads that explicitly call for the election or defeat of a candidate.
The revelations about the August 2016 meetings come amidst scrutiny of another meeting between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
The Wall Street Journal last month reported that investigators working for US Special Counsel Robert Mueller had met Zamel and that Mueller’s team was looking into his firm’s work and his relationship with Nader.
Mueller is investigating whether Russia meddled in the presidential election and if Moscow colluded with the Trump campaign, as well as whether Trump committed obstruction of justice by trying to thwart the US Department of Justice probe.
Trump has denied any collusion with Russia and has called the Mueller investigation a “witch-hunt”.
The New York Times report said the meetings are an indication that other countries besides Russia may have offered help to Trump’s presidential campaign.