Meet George Nader, millionaire. He owns mansions -- in Abu Dhabi and his native Lebanon -- and $1 million in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. He also, according to the U.S. government, has some very unusual things on his cell phones.

For example, child pornography, according to the federal agents who seized the 60-year-old Nader’s iPhones in January 2018 at Dulles International Airport. Three months later, the Justice Department charged the Middle Eastern businessman, a serial sexual-abuse offender, with violating child-porn laws for having sexually explicit pictures of young boys engaging in bestiality and other acts. Nader -- and, presumably, those iPhones -- were en route from Dubai to President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, for a party the celebrate the 45th president’s first year in office.

But when Nader was finally arrested on those repulsive charges last week -- as he attempted to re-enter the United States for medical treatment -- there were other interesting things on his mobile phones that had nothing to do with young boys and everything to do with Nader’s relationships with powerful older men. For example, text messages between Nader and United Arab Emirates (UAE) autocrat Prince Mohammad bin Zayed, recently described on the front pages of the New York Times as “the most powerful Arab ruler.” And other communications with representatives of Saudi Arabia’s powerful Prince Mohammad bin Salman -- who has implausibly denied any role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi -- and other top Middle East emissaries.

I’m here to make a provocative argument. Look, nothing is more offensive than either child pornography or Nader’s disgusting history with these issues. But the average U.S. citizen should be more shocked and alarmed by the other stuff on his phones -- the history of Nader’s ridiculously successful campaign to foster closer ties between the president of the United States, his family, and some of the world’s worst dictators 7,000 miles across the globe.

Let me put it this way: The children on Nader’s phone were horribly exploited, but thousands of children in Yemen are being maimed and killed from bombs -- many of them manufactured right here in the U.S. of A -- that are the result of the unholy alliance of the Trump White House, the Saudis, and UAE. And with this trio amping up tensions with Iran and elsewhere, things in the world’s most dangerous region may get worse before they get better.

Much of Nader’s politically sordid relationship with Team Trump has been reported over the last year, but it’s important to review it all in one place. That’s because it’s a reminder that there is still so much about the president, his family, their money and abuses of presidential power that we still don’t yet know about, and because it also suggests that the president’s much-discussed ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia may not even be his biggest scandal.

George Nader has been a wheeler-dealer for decades, a D.C.-based magazine editor and then a Mideast-based “informal ambassador” who became a wealthy man while trading off his ties with both Washington and with Arab leaders. He’s also someone who -- if Secret Service protocols are working properly -- wouldn’t get within a mile of an American president, thanks to his 1991 federal conviction on child-porn charges and his 2003 conviction in the Czech Republic for sexual abuse of as many as 10 boys (as well as a 1985 child-porn case that was tossed on a technicality.)

Instead, Nader gained admission to an October 2017 fund-raiser in Dallas and got his picture taken with President Trump, apparently with the help of his newfound business partner Elliot Broidy, who a few weeks later donated a whopping $189,000 to the Republican National Committee. Nader’s picture with Trump was a shocking breach -- but also a culmination of a campaign involving Nader, Broidy and their Saudi-UAE patrons to forge a radical new alliance.

On August 2, just a few days after Trump claimed the GOP presidential nomination, Nader -- again, despite his past -- gained admission to Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr. According to a report last year in the New York Times, Nader was there to tell Trump Jr. “that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president” -- a remark that sounds jarringly similar to Russian offers of help weeks earlier.

Nader, in making this shocking pitch not only to the son of the future president but also to Erik Prince, the Trump ally who’d founded the mercenary firm known initially as Blackwater, and aide Stephen Miller, brought proof that the offer was more than an idle boast. He was accompanied by Joel Zamel, an Israeli psy-ops specialist who said he was prepared to run a social-media propaganda campaign to help Trump get elected that November.

What happened next is a little murky. Zamel and his team would both brag about their efforts in helping Trump and deny it ever happened. And Nader, according to the Times, made a payment to Zamel as large as $2 million or more. If it wasn’t for a foreign social-media campaign to help Trump win, what was it for? The American people still don’t know.

We do know that Nader appeared again to work with UAE’s leader to broker the strange meeting that occurred in the Seychelles in January 2017 between Blackwater founder Prince, as Trump’s representative, his patron MBZ, and Russia’s Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian investment fund who is said to be close to Putin. The goal was supposedly to foster closer ties between the Trump government and Putin -- although it’s unclear how successful that was.

Arguably, Nader and his new ally Broidy -- who was named as a top fund-raiser for the Republican National Committee -- had more luck both in winning lucrative contracts from the Saudi and UAE governments and in developing closer ties with Trump aides like Steve Bannon and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. One of their 2017 initiatives -- to help their Persian Gulf clients isolate neighbor Qatar after a high-profile split -- got support from President Trump even as other administration officials were worried about angering Qatar, a major base for U.S. troops.

The Mueller probe -- which granted limited immunity to Nader and hauled him before the grand jury, even as the new child-porn allegations were kept under wraps -- dealt solely with Trump’s Russia ties. As a result, we don’t know whether Team Trump’s dealings with Nader, Prince and the Gulf leaders is one of the dozen or so matters still under investigation by the Justice Department. Nor does there seem to be any urgency among House Democrats, with their super-duper slow-motion probe of the Trump White House, to get to the bottom of this angle.

Maybe they should.

That’s because the aggressively pro-Saudi-UAE policy tilt -- even as evidence emerges of the Saudi role not just in Khashoggi’s murder but other sweeping human-rights crimes -- is becoming a symbol of a president’s out-of-control abuse of power. It started in the first half of Trump’s term with the anti-Qatar moves, the decision to make Saudi Arabia site of the president’s first foreign visit, a close relationship between Kushner and the Saudi’s MBS that involved secret communication channels, and a dangerous ratcheting of tensions with Iran, the rival of the Saudis and UAE for regional influence.

People inspect the site of an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday. Yemen's human rights minister says heavy fighting is underway in the country's south as rebel Houthis push to gain more territory from government forces and their allies. The clashes come as the Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes on the capital, Sanaa, earlier on Thursday, targeting the Houthis and killing at least three civilians.
Hani Mohammed / AP
People inspect the site of an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday. Yemen's human rights minister says heavy fighting is underway in the country's south as rebel Houthis push to gain more territory from government forces and their allies. The clashes come as the Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes on the capital, Sanaa, earlier on Thursday, targeting the Houthis and killing at least three civilians.

Now consider these recent headlines:

-- Under a so-called “national emergency” declared last month, Trump is allowing the American defense contractor Raytheon to sell the Saudis the parts and technology they’d need to build smart bombs, a potential major destabilization of the region.

-- Also, the Trump administration has allowed the transfer of nuclear technology to the Saudis on seven occasions -- including twice right after Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul by Saudi intelligence agents -- and bent over backwards to avoid congressional oversight on these deals that could help the murderous MBS achieve Riyadh’s cherished goal of a nuclear bomb.

-- The president, wielding his veto pen for only the second time, has been defiant in shutting down the bipartisan efforts by Congress to end America’s considerable support for the disastrous Saudi-and-UAE-backed war in Yemen, which has included the lethal bombings of school buses and hospitals and which, according to the United Nations and other monitoring groups, threatens a humanitarian crisis that could cause thousands of children to starve to death.

Since last week, there’s been a lot of clucking on social media about Nader’s arrest. That’s understandable: Pervert scandals are easy for everyone to understand, while the perversion of American foreign policy is a lot more complicated. And, yeah, it surely is ironic that with all the focus on the craziest far-right regarding Pizzagate and QAnon, that it’s Team Trump caught playing political footsie with a child molester. But that’s not why the George Nader story matters.

The children we need to be doing more about saving are the children of Yemen. And to do that, we need to have Congress and the Justice Department do a lot more than they’ve been doing to explain what Nader and Broidy were up to these past three years, how money and the possibility of illegal campaign help from the Persian Gulf has warped U.S. policy, and why Trump is so eager to bend and break the rule of law to give lethal weapons to the Saudi dictators. That’s more important than the porn on a businessman’s phone -- because the answers might just prevent more war in the Middle East.