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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
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(THREAD) The most important meeting in the Trump-Russia timeline isn't the June '16 meeting at Trump Tower—it's the August 3, 2016 meeting between Don Jr., Erik Prince, an emissary from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and Israeli intel pro Joel Zamel. I hope you'll read on and retweet.
1/ *Everything in this thread is based on major media reporting*. Feel free to look any of it up. All of this is discussed—with bountiful endnotes and citations—in PROOF OF COLLUSION. This is about 2% of the fully fact-checked and major media-born narrative presented in the book.
2/ George Nader was—for a long time—a recognized emissary for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (known as "MBS") and the Crown Prince of the UAE (known as "MBZ"). Nader is now a cooperating witness for Bob Mueller. Erik Prince is a very close friend of the Crown Prince of the UAE.
3/ Erik Prince lives in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He falsely claimed under oath to have had no role in Trump's campaign, but admits meeting with members of Trump's National Security Advisory Committee—the Committee that coordinated collusion and is the beating heart of the collusion story.
4/ He also admits feeding Donald Trump national security advice *directly through Trump's campaign CEO*, Steve Bannon. Erik Prince was invited by Trump to his election-night party and Trump awarded Prince's unqualified sister, Betsy DeVos, the position of Secretary of Education.
5/ Prince was a shadow national security adviser during the campaign. Trump had two—the other was Mike Flynn, who Trump deliberately kept off any formal national security committee he created (there were multiple ones preelection). And that's exactly what he did with Erik Prince.
6/ But Prince had eyes on Trump's National Security Advisory Committee—the equivalent, in the Russia scandal, of what "CREEP" was to Watergate—and those eyes were the eyes of Joseph Schmitz, one of the very first people Trump appointed to his National Security Advisory Committee.
7/ It's not just that Schmitz is Prince's friend. It's not just that Prince was Schmitz's mentor. Schmitz *worked for Prince* as the COO for a company of which Prince was the CEO. And Prince *admits* meeting with Schmitz during the campaign. And who knows how often he called him.
8/ So when Prince set up a meeting at Trump Tower between Joel Zamel—who runs the "business intelligence" firms Wikistrat and Psy Group, both of which have connections to the Israeli government via their former Israeli intel employees and Zamel himself—and Trump Jr., it was big.
9/ "It was big" means Prince—a Trump shadow NatSec adviser with eyes on Trump's National Security Advisory Committee (which had, by August '16, been in direct communication with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs *repeatedly* via Papadopoulos)—Prince did so *very* advisedly.
10/ Prince also invited Nader, the emissary for his (Prince's) pal MBZ and also for MBS, the man who later boasted of having "Jared Kushner in his back pocket." The four men met at Trump Tower. Did Donald Trump *Sr.* know his son was holding this meeting in his (Trump's) *house*?
11/ The Trump campaign had a *pattern* of trying to insulate Trump from anyone saying he knew *anything*. *Ever*. If you wanted to get to Trump, you went to Rhona Graff. Or Hope Hicks. Or—as in June 2016—Donald Trump Jr.

But the evidence suggests Trump *always* knew what was up.
12/ So *any* investigator looking at this—including Mueller—would presume Trump Sr. was either at this meeting or knew about it beforehand. The *absolute minimum* is that he learned of it afterward, for reasons that I'll lay out now. It has to do with today's breaking news story.
13/ According to the NYT today, Rick Gates was engaged in negotiations with Zamel to get Zamel's Psy Group to "create fake online identities, use social media manipulation, and gather intel to help defeat....Hillary Clinton, according to interviews and copies of the proposals."
14/ First, let's take today's report on its own terms. Rick Gates was Trump's Deputy Campaign Manager. This means Trump's Deputy Campaign Manager was considering USING A DOMESTIC DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN ON AMERICAN VOTERS to help Trump win the presidential election. Process that.
15/ No one is alleging—and no one believes—that Gates had "gone rogue" and was considering something that Paul Manafort (his immediate boss and Trump's Campaign Manager) didn't know he was considering.

And keep in mind Manafort was speaking with the Russians (via Kilimnik) then.
16/ Did Trump Sr. know what Manafort and Gates were doing? Again, who knows—he was insulated from anyone readily being able to say *what* he knew. But Gates and Manafort getting *formal proposals* from Zamel on this sort of massive campaign had to be known to *somebody* high up.
17/ Far and away the most likely Trump family member to have known about the Gates-Zamel negotiations of Spring 2016 is Jared Kushner, as it was Kushner who ultimately hired Cambridge Analytica "instead"—I'll explain the scare-quotes in a moment.

Kushner would've been consulted.
18/ Indeed, today's NYT breaking news says that Gates ultimately decided the Trump campaign was "uninterested" in working with Zamel because the campaign was going with Cambridge Analytica instead. Impossible to see, therefore, how Kushner wasn't part of the deliberative process.
19/ Kushner has a history of *passing off things that are too hot* to his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. Want proof? When Jared allegedly *nixed* anyone on the Trump campaign meeting with Russian mobster Alex Torshin, guess who ended up dining with Torshin days later? Trump Jr.
20/ Trump Jr. invited Kushner to the June 2016 Trump-Russia meeting—and though one of the other meeting participants said Kushner was laser-focused in the meeting and "irate" when the Russians didn't hand over Clinton dirt, in the end the fall guy for the meeting was... Trump Jr.
21/ Trump Jr. was a safer conduit to Trump Sr. than Kushner because Jr. had no official role in the campaign. He was "outside" the campaign and made a big deal of being so. So when Gates—and Kushner—nixed Zamel's illegal (fraudulent) domestic disinformation scheme, what happened?
22/ Well, what happened is that weeks later—*consistent with a campaign pattern*—the shady person (Zamel) who Kushner had supposedly, per the NYT, "turned down" ended up meeting with Jr. *This time* with an emissary from Kushner's eventual pal MBS and Trump NatSec adviser Prince.
23/ We know—as major-media reported it—what happened at that August 3, 2016 meeting. Zamel offered Trump Jr. the *same deal* that Gates (and likely Kushner) were "uninterested" in—confirming that they saw value in Zamel's offer but *couldn't let it get too close to the campaign*.
24/ According to major media reporting Trump Jr. said he was "interested" in Zamel's offer. But that wasn't the only offer he got in the meeting. And this is, I believe, the single biggest fact in the entire *Trump-Russia* scandal—even though it involves the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
25/ At Trump Tower on August 3, 2016—a week after Trump asked Russia to commit acts of cyber-terrorism in the U.S.—George Nader said to Trump Jr., as an emissary of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, that those two nations would do anything they could do to help Trump win the White House.
26/ This is the first of two documents I wrote and published a week ago. Together they offer the story of Trump-Russia collusion in broad strokes (note: it should say "Black Sea, Kava Sea, Arctic Ocean" instead of "North Sea"; just a silly typo on my part that's not in the book):
27/ And here's the second document I wrote and published a week ago—before today's breaking news that the Israeli government-linked Zamel was trying to collude with the Trump campaign in spring 2016. (Sort of suggests this "theory of the case" is on the right track, doesn't it.)
28/ Both documents are derived from major media reports. They don't represent a guess—they're an investigative "theory of the case" based on all the available reliable evidence. I'm reasonably certain that this is the theory Mueller is working from, as it fits *all* the evidence.
29/ OK—so you're Donald Trump Jr., and Zamel has just offered you a deal you're "interested" in but can't say "yes" to directly because Gates and Kushner don't want the campaign attached to it.

And two *insanely rich countries* have *just told you* they'll do *anything* for you.
30/ A "theory of the case"—an evolving investigative theory a professional develops to investigate a case—would have Trump Jr. saying "yes" to Zamel and asking the Saudis and the UAE to pay the tab to give Trump's campaign plausible deniability.

Does other evidence support this?
31/ Yes, only *all the evidence* supports this.
32/ (1) MBZ—Trump NatSec adviser Prince's very good friend—*secretly enters the US in December '16* to meet with—wait for it—Bannon! and Kushner! and Flynn! (2) MBS *secretly* texts with Kushner using WhatsApp during that same month—making their communication impossible to track.
33/ (3) Trump shocks the world by making Saudi Arabia his first foreign trip. (4) Trump shocks the world by being the first-ever president to consider allowing the Saudis to *develop nuclear weapons*. (Oh, and if he says yes to Saudi Arabia, an agreement lets the UAE do it, too.)
34/ (5) A Saudi blockade of Qatar convinces the Qataris to "loan" Kushner *a billion dollars* months after Trump enters office. There's more, but for now I'll add the obvious one: (6) a *disinformation campaign in the United States did in fact happen in the 90 days pre-election*.
35/ Now—if you're paying very close attention—you'll notice that a Saudi/UAE-funded, Israeli-executed disinformation campaign isn't the same thing as the Russia campaign we know about. And no, it's not. Either there was a concurrent campaign *or* Russia was involved in a bargain.
36/ If only there was *any* evidence that someone who was present on August 3, 2016 in Trump Tower when Jr. said he was "interested" in the Israeli-Saudi-UAE offer *later met with the Russians and UAE* together... let's see... is it:

(a) Trump Jr.
(b) Prince
(c) Nader
(d) Zamel
37/ That's right: Prince—who was at the meeting—ended up meeting with the Russians and the UAE in the Seychelles and lying to everyone he could about it (including *Congress, under oath, repeatedly*). But surely there's no one in the Trump campaign connected to Israel and Russia?
38/ Well, there are *several* people—Kushner is a great example—but we might also note here that *Papadopoulos* was *also* lied about by the Trump campaign (repeatedly), was thought to be an Israeli spy by the feds, met w/ Israeli agents, made weird trips to Israel in-campaign...
39/ But here's the big reveal: immediately after Election Day in 2016, Zamel's Psy Group announced *formally* a partnership with Trump's data firm, Cambridge Analytica. Which means those two entities were *in communication* between August 2016 and Election Day. So what happened?
40/ There are *many* questions like this. Why was Papadopoulos in Israel the week of Trump's inauguration? Why was Erik Prince—who set up Zamel's "disinformation" offer to Trump Jr. on August 3—caught spreading Russian disinformation via Bannon's Breitbart 96 hours pre-election?
41/ Over and over, the same names/nations pop up in Trump campaign lies:

Russia
UAE
Saudi Arabia
Israel
Qatar

And:

Kushner
Trump Jr.
Gates*
Manafort*
Nader
Flynn*
Prince
Papadopoulos*
Zamel
Bannon

* = Caught by Mueller.

The above's a *fairly* tight group for a conspiracy—10.
42/ Of course everyone needs *help*: Flynn needed K.T. McFarland; Kushner needed MBS; Prince, Bannon, and Zamel needed MBZ; Trump Sr. needed Rhona Graff, Hope Hicks, and Trump Jr. to block for him. And Roger Stone was "going rogue" while in communication with Trump Sr.—per usual.
43/ But the other piece of news we received today via an unlikely source—George Papadopoulos himself—is that Papadopoulos, Trump, and (almost certainly) Mike Flynn were together at a meeting (at least one) in September '16, just weeks after the August 3, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
44/ To make it simpler—Kushner says no to Zamel, sends him to Trump Jr.; Trump Jr. says yes to Zamel, sends him to UAE/Saudi Arabia for payment; Zamel coordinates with Cambridge Analytica, and UAE/Russia coordinate. Bannon, Flynn, Prince, Nader, and Trump Jr. all remain involved.
45/ It's shocking to think the only link we don't have full proof of in the prior tweet is UAE/Saudi Arabia paying Zamel. However, they'd just said they'd do *anything* for Trump at a meeting at which Zamel offered a plan Trump Jr. wanted to say yes to but wanted deniability for.
46/ Moreover, post-election Jared Kushner was the only top Trump adviser telling Trump to support the Saudi blockade of Qatar—and Trump *agreed* with Kushner for no reason anyone can tell. Plus—Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, potential gift of a freedom to develop nuclear weapons.
47/ We also learned, today, that the chances Trump Tower communicating with a Russian bank was coincidental—during the exact timeframe we're discussing—is virtually zero. Within 48 hours of the NYT telling Alfa Bank it knew of the "pinging," the *Trump Tower* server went offline.
48/ And—per the New Yorker today—that pinging was happening in August and September 2016. Moreover, even after Trump Tower switched to another location, Alfa Banker's server *immediately* found it—as though a human source at Alfa Bank had been told by a human source at Trump Org.
49/ The noose is tightening on Trump-Russia collusion.

Everything I've mentioned here is just a tiny fraction of what's in PROOF OF COLLUSION, and presumably what's in PROOF OF COLLUSION is only a piece of what Bob Mueller knows. Cambridge Analytica continues to appear key here.
50/ What I urge media to do now is memorize the timeline—know its key events. We can't have a repeat of today's NYT underreporting—which implied events weren't connected when prior reporting established they would have been. And to readers: read those "Grand Bargain" images. /end
NOTE/ Tweet #26 should say "Kara Sea," not "Kava Sea." What is it about bodies of water that causes me to make typos?
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