Turns out Trump associate’s meeting with a Russian at a remote oceanic island *wasn’t* coincidence

psbsve / Flickr Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting...
psbsve / Flickr

Remember when brother of Betsy Devos and Trump associate Erik Prince tried to sell his meeting with a Putin associate in the Seychelles as some kind of chance run in at the Safeway down the street? Yeah, well, ABC News has a different rendering of what Robert Mueller found out during seven different interviews with cooperating witness and UAE adviser George Nader, who helped broker Prince’s meeting with Russian investment fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained evidence that calls into question Congressional testimony given by Trump supporter and Blackwater founder Erik Prince last year, when he described a meeting in Seychelles with a Russian financier close to Vladimir Putin as a casual chance encounter “over a beer,” sources told ABC News. […]

Documents obtained by Mueller suggest that before and after Prince met Nader in New York a week before the trip to the Seychelles, Nader shared information with Prince about Dmitriev, sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News, which appears to be inconsistent with Prince’s sworn testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives investigative panel.

“I didn’t fly there to meet any Russian guy,” Prince told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in November. He testified that he travelled to the Seychelles for a meeting with United Arab Emirates officials about possible business opportunities, and they introduced him – unexpectedly – to Dmitriev.

“Oh, hey, fancy seeing you here!” That coincidental January 11, 2017, meeting took place just a month after Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner suggested setting up a secret back-channel between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin during a Trump Tower meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Nader has reportedly told a grand jury that the Seychelles rendezvous was specifically targeted at setting up that back-channel. And one of the Washington Post reporters who broke the Trump Tower back-channel story last year told MSNBC that an anonymous letter tipping them off about that meeting also said its participants—Kushner, Kislyak and Michael Flynn—concluded the Flynn was too “high-profile” to attend a future confab about setting up that secret line of communication.

Thus, that chance meeting at a remote island in the Indian Ocean wherein a Trump envoy meets with a Russian envoy “over a beer.” It’s unclear whether Prince has sat before the grand jury yet, but ABC sites a source saying that Mueller had not asked Prince to do so as of late March.

This almost goes without saying, but let’s just keep in mind that the whole purpose of such a back-channel would be to bypass the entire U.S. national security apparatus so Trump and Putin could talk more freely about … the weather?

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