Erik Prince's Seychelles Meeting With Russian Draws New Scrutiny


If confirmed, the nature of the Seychelles meeting would not be the first time the White House has allegedly tried to establish a back-channel with Russian Federation. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation a year ago and is cooperating with the Mueller probe, was reportedly also at the meeting.

GOP members of the committee have been pressing to bring the panel's Russian Federation investigation to a close and issue a report that Democratic members are not likely to endorse.

Rice sought the names of senior Trump officials in order to find out why Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of the UAE, chose to visit NY late 2017, she told the committee in a closed-door interview, according to a CNN report at the time.

Although Prince had no official role in the Trump transition team, The Intercept-citing a former senior USA official that advised the transition-reported in January 2017 that he had weighed in on Defense and State Department candidates and provided advice on intelligence and defense.

Representatives of Prince had no immediate comment on the Post story, and had declined to comment on previous reports about Nader and the Seychelles meeting.

Prince says, "I never ever have represented as anyone from the Trump transition and the only reason I went to the Seychelles was to see MBZ", referring to Mohammed bin Zayed, the United Arab Emirates' crowned prince.

Prince, for his part, criticized the Obama administration late 2017 for unmasking him while surveilling several people who met with foreign officials.

The special counsel is looking into the possibility Nader funneled money into the Trump campaign to buy political influence on behalf of the UAE, according to the Times.

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The Washington Post said that while Mueller is probing the circumstances of the Seychelles meeting, he is also more broadly examining apparent efforts by the Trump transition team to create a back channel for secret talks with the Kremlin.

Judge Andrew Napolitano said Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is being led down new "rabbit holes" in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. -Russian relations, according to people familiar with the matter.

Nader has long served as an adviser to the UAE leadership, and in that role he met a few times with Trump officials, including Steve Bannon and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to people familiar with the matter.

"I don't know whether the public reports of what Nader is saying are accurate, but if they are, there's clearly a significant discrepancy between that version and what we heard in Erik Prince's testimony", Schiff said. Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), who is running the panel's Russian Federation probe, declined to comment Thursday about whether he would call Nader or Prince for an interview.

Also Wednesday, it was revealed that Trump recently approached two key witnesses cooperating with Mueller about what they told investigators, breaking with the advice of his lawyers.

Prince had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition.

Prince denied that he was acting as a representative of Trump, who would be inaugurated as president days after the meeting. Devlin Barrett writes about national security and law enforcement for The Washington Post.