Former Trump Aide May Have Lied Under Oath About Seychelles Meeting
Former Trump Aide May Have Lied Under Oath About Seychelles Meeting
Erik Prince. Larry Downing Reuters
09 March, 2018, 02:53
Special counsel Robert Mueller is honing in on a secret meeting between a Trump associate and a Russian official shortly before the president's inauguration in what increasingly looks like an effort to create a back-channel between the Kremlin and the incoming White House administration, according to a new report.
The January 2017 meeting between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian official close to Vladimir Putin was coordinated so that Prince could discuss how the Trump administration could communicate with Moscow in the future, according to The Washington Post.
Prince said his meeting with Dmitriev came up at the last minute and at the suggestion of the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who Prince said invited him to the Seychelles - although he told congressional investigators he could not remember when or who from Zayed's staff extended the invitation.
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. And then there's Prince's attempts to win business from the Trump administration for his private mercenary army in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Nader, according to current and former officials, was known to Trump transition and administration officials as someone with political connections in the Middle East who could help navigate the tricky diplomacy of the region.
A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.
There are so many things being investigated here, it's hard to believe that Mueller isn't going to be able to prove some serious criminal misconduct. He's also the younger brother of Trump's Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. WaPo's reporting at the time also relied on anonymous sources - the legacy outlet has frequently used such journalistic techniques while reporting on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Post, investigators now suspect the Seychelles meeting may have been one of the first efforts to establish such a line of communications between the two governments.
H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials, including from the UAE, that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report.
The Washington Post, citing US officials, said such a concession by Moscow would have been required to justify any easing of USA sanctions on Russian Federation by the Trump administration.
The Washington Post said the U.A.E. agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russian Federation could be persuaded to curtail its close relationship with Iran - a key objective of both the Trump administration and several Gulf Arab countries.
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