Washington Post sends an article about a key Mueller witness down the memory hole

Last month, readers of the Washington Post were treated to an AP article by Bradley Klapper and Karel Janicek detailing the pedophilia conviction of George Nader, who has been identified as a cooperating witness in the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation.  But Ryan Saavdera of the Daily Wire noticed that the article has been removed from the WaPo’s archive, with no retraction or formal notice of any kind.

The article, titled "Nader, Mueller’s latest cooperator, a convicted pedophile," was published on March 15 and documented George Nader's "15-year-old pedophilia conviction in Europe that has not been previously reported."

However, at some point over the last couple of weeks, The Washington Post decided to delete the article without offering any explanation or retraction. (A digital archive can be viewed here.)

Vanished headline (Via the internet archive)

The archived article is colorful and a bit and sensationalistic, starting with the detaining (arrest?) of Nader at Dulles Airport:

 It was a few days before the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration and a Lebanese-American businessman was on his way to Mar-a-Lago.

George Nader, an international fixer whose long history included intrepid back-channel mediation between Israel and Arab countries — and a 15-year-old pedophilia conviction in Europe that has not been previously reported — was transiting through Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

It was hardly his first far-flung journey to see top aides of the world’s most powerful leader, as Nader had met the U.S. president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steve Bannon in the days before they stormed the White House.

But he encountered an altogether different scene awaiting him at the airport.

There, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators stopped Nader, people familiar with the case said. His electronics were seized and he was then allowed to go to his lawyer. Nader later agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, said the people with knowledge of the case as it pertains to Nader. They weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the case and demanded anonymity.

The article in the WaPo makes clear, based on leaks that the investigation has strayed far from its original mission of election “collusion” with Russia:

 Mueller, whose team has spent the last 10 months investigating possible Trump-related wrongdoing connected to Russia, is interested in high-level get-togethers Nader participated in after the presidential election, according to three people familiar with the case.

The first took place in Trump Tower in New York in December 2016 and brought together Nader, Kushner, Bannon — whom Trump fired last August — and Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates. The second occurred a month later in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles and involved Nader, bin Zayed, former Blackwater boss Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian banker close to President Vladimir Putin.

The piece includes details of the conviction, but admits:

Nader’s legal problems in Prague appear unrelated to his role in Mueller’s probe in the United States. But they contribute to the portrait of a man who has led a shadowy existence as a go-between across numerous Middle East capitals and who gave testimony to Mueller’s Washington grand jury earlier this month.

At this point, it is impossible to know why the Post pulled the story without comment. Has Nader turned into a major witness with pay dirt? If so (and I consider this unlikely), did Mueller’s team call up the Post and ask it to make embarrassing details about their star witness disappear?  That seems heavy-handed, unethical, and counter-productive in the long run. In fact, it is hard to believe.

So, the other major possibility seems to be that this witness has turned out to be a nothingburger, an embarrassment to the investigators. But if so, how did the WaPo get the message that the article is an inconvenience and take the unusual action od deep-sixing it?

Or, is there some other factor at work. Was the WaPo threatened with libel action? If so, what did it get wrong, and why did it not publish a retraction?

Most puzzlng of all: th story fromt he AP ran in many other news outselts, and still is available.

All in all, a small clue that something is going on behind the scenes between the Trump-hating WaPo and the relentless prosecutor determined to find the crime – somewhere, somehow – that will bring down the President of the United States.

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