The former top national security aide to Dick Cheney has fallen under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Two sources with knowledge of the probe say Mueller is examining possibly suspicious contacts by John Hannah, who served as a Cheney adviser and worked on Trump’s State Department transition team, reported The Daily Beast.
“Mueller might be opening another front here,” said John McLaughlin, former acting director of the CIA. “His mandate is to examine Russian collusion, but there’s the clause in his mandate that’s very open-ended—to the effect of ‘and any associated matters.’ It could be a separate line of inquiry about efforts to influence the election by foreigners.”
Hannah has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but investigators are interested in his interactions with Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, who arranged meetings between Trump associates and foreign dignitaries, and Joel Zamel, a social media expert with deep ties to Israeli intelligence.
Hannah, Nader and Zamel reportedly met with a top Saudi general shortly before President Donald Trump was inaugurated to discuss plans to overthrow the government of Iran.
Nader worked with Hannah on Iraq policy during the Bush administration, and Hannah is listed as an advisory council for Zamel’s tech firm Wikistrat.
Hannah now serves as a senior counselor for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a pro-Israel think tank highly critical of Iran.
Nader and Zamel have each been questioned by Mueller’s team and are reportedly cooperating with the Russia investigation.