Erik Prince says meeting with Russian banker unrelated to Trump campaign

Postado Dezembro 07, 2017

Dmitriev is the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund that since 2015 has been subject to US sanctions.

The House Intelligence Committee released Wednesday a 105-page transcript of his December 1 testimony to its Russian Federation probe, where he was asked about the January 11 meeting in the Seychelles, a remote Indian Ocean archipelago off East Africa. The Washington Post originally reported that Prince was acting on the Trump campaign's behalf at the meeting.

He met with the committee voluntarily, and did not have an attorney with him.

They also talked about "how the United States and Russian Federation should be working together to defeat Islamic terrorism", according to Prince.

He recounted meeting Dmitriev at a hotel bar, where they discussed topics ranging from oil to commodity prices.

Prince said he had discussed U.S. -Russia relations with Dmitriev, but only in the broadest terms.

The leak of the existence of the meeting, Prince said, angered the Emiratis whom he had traveled to the Seychelles to meet.

Prince said the meeting lasted 30 minutes.

"How would you describe the role of a citizen voter who wrote policy memos for a campaign, made multiple visits to Trump Tower, made six-figure donations to the campaign, and conducted a number of meetings with the campaign's manager?" Representative Tom Rooney, a Florida Republican, asked him.

Prince described the arrangement of his meeting with Dmitriev as informal, telling investigators that the real goal of his trip was to meet with Emirati officials to discuss terrorism in the area and "conceptual-only stuff" on mineral-related business.

Prince said he had met Trump just once, at a fundraiser, before he was elected president in November 2016.

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, met for about half an hour in a bar at the suggestion of officials from the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement, Schiff said Prince did not "adequately explain why he traveled halfway around the world to meet with UAE officials or Dmitriev".

Prince told congressional investigators that he was a donor to Trump's campaign who later submitted policy papers to members of the president-elect's transition team.

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.

Schiff on Wednesday called for the committee to subpoena Prince to testify on what the intelligence officials told him.

Prince was called to testify because of the Seychelles meeting on January 11, 2017, which The Washington Post later described as an effort to connect the incoming Trump administration with Moscow.

Erik Prince, founder of private military contractor Blackwater, was grilled for almost four hours by the House Intelligence Committee last month.

When asked why Abu Dhabi's crown prince may have reached out to Prince after not having contact with him for some time, Prince said, "I think the Obama administration went out of their way to tarnish my ability to do business in the Middle East, and with a different administration in town, they probably figured that that downdraft wasn't present anymore". Controversy erupted in 2007, when Blackwater guards stopping traffic for a State Department convoy shot and killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians during a chaotic scene in Baghdad's Nisour Square.