US House Democrat: Prince Must Reveal More Details to Intelligence Committee

Why did Blackwater's Erik Prince meet Russian fund boss in Seychelles bar? Not as Trump's secret envoy, he says

Prince, whose sister is Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, repeatedly denied having a special relationship with the Trump team, despite acknowledging that he submitted foreign policy position papers on the Middle East to the campaign, frequently texted with campaign chairman Steve Bannon, and visited Trump Tower several times during the transition.

"If Franklin Roosevelt can work with Joseph Stalin after the Ukraine terror starvation, after killing tens of millions of his own citizens, we can certainly at least cooperate with the Russians in a productive way to defeat the Islamic State", Prince said he told Dmitriev.

Prince, chairman of the Hong-Kong-based Frontier Services Group, said he knew Dmitriev was a Russian fund manager, but didn't realise that the Russian government controlled it and that it had been sanctioned by the United States since 2015 due to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

At the January 11, 2017 meeting, he said he was introduced to a Russian fund manger, Kirill Dmitriev, with whom he had an unscheduled 30-minute discussion at a bar. The committee is one of three congressional panels investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with Trump's presidential campaign.

Prince said he hadn't delved too deeply into who Dmitriev was in the moments before he met him at a bar in Seychelles.

Prince donated to Trump's campaign, made multiple visits to Trump Tower in NY and said he wrote some foreign policy memos for the Republican candidate, which he delivered to Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon. "That's all I recall of that conversation". The Post claimed that Prince had "presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump". He also said that Dmitriev discussed how much his country wished to resume normal trade relations with the US. Those meetings were similarly brief, he said.

"I didn't fly there to meet any Russian guy", Prince said.

Just days after the meeting, Goldstone apparently forwarded a message to Kaveladze referencing a report about Russia's breach of the Democratic National Committee.

In a transcript released on Wednesday of Prince's testimony last week to the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Prince said he and Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, or RDIF, met for about half an hour in a bar at the suggestion of officials from the United Arab Emirates.

None of the emails CNN reported on Thursday were sent to Trump Jr. directly, but were instead missives sent by Goldstone to Dan Scavino, then a top aide to the Trump campaign and now the White House's social media director, as well as Ike Kaveladze, a Russian who was present at the meeting.

Prince also said that his trip to the Seychelles, which he said was to meet with UAE officials about business opportunities, did not have anything to do with Russian Federation.

According to the newspaper, the UAE brokered the meeting "in part" to explore whether Russian Federation might be persuaded to back away from its relationship with Iran and Syria.

He declined to provide the committee the names of those individuals in an unclassified setting, but was adamant that the Obama administration had inappropriately manipulated signals intelligence, or SIGINT.

Prince also complained during his testimony about USA intelligence community spying on Americans, and so-called improper identifying or "unmasking" of Americans caught up in surveillance of foreigners.

"Unless The Washington Post has somehow miraculously recruited the bartender of a hotel in the Seychelles, the only way that's happening is through SIGINT", he said.

"That is correct", said Prince.

"That comes back to my concern about, what is the community going to do about unlawful leaking and the political abuse of the intelligence apparatus that affects Americans?" he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Schiff said that when discussing the January meeting, "Prince was again less than forthcoming and sought to represent that his discussion with Dmitriev, which comprised a third of the time he was conducting meetings in the Seychelles, was merely coincidental".

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