Mueller Probes Growing Evidence of Back-Channel Between Trump, Russia

Mar 10, 2018, 01:35
Mueller Probes Growing Evidence of Back-Channel Between Trump, Russia

The meeting was known to American intelligence past year, but it mystified them until Nader provided the details. To date, the intelligence panel has not had luck scheduling interviews with witnesses who are already cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

Sign up for the latest Russian Federation investigation updates here.

U.S., European and Arab officials told The Washington Post last April that the meeting was part of an effort to set up back-channel communications between the Kremlin and then President-elect Donald Trump.

Prince testified past year before the House Intelligence Committee about his meeting and Thursday, Democrats pounced on reports that Lebanese-American businessman George Nader told the special counsel he was at the meeting.

Representative Adam Schiff said Thursday that he wants George Nader to testify to help clear up inconsistencies with earlier testimony about the same meeting from another witness, Erik Prince, who founded the Blackwater security firm. Prince has deep connections to the UAE, and had been contracted by them to created a private army for the Crown Prince.

More news: German SPD votes in favor of 'grand coalition' with Merkel

U.S. should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's team has reportedly heard testimony that appears at odds with answers Blackwater founder Erik Prince gave to the House Intelligence Committee about a meeting he attended with a Russian executive before President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out "subversion" at VA MORE's inauguration.

In his testimony before Congress, Prince reportedly omitted Nader's presence at the meeting, which added to the cloud gathering over him.

"We chatted on topics ranging from oil and commodity prices to how much his country wished for resumption of normal trade relations", Prince told the House Intelligence Committee.

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. He also said he was not there as a representative of the Trump campaign.

Nader has long served as an adviser to the UAE leadership, and in that role he met a couple of times with Trump officials, including Steve Bannon and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to people familiar with the matter. Representatives for Nader, Dmitriev and the Emirati ambassador haven't commented.

More news: Florida Senate holds Saturday session on school safety bill and gun regulations

Nader also had long-time connections to Prince, and he reportedly introduced the security entrepreneur to Dmitriev. Rep. Adam B. Schiff wants to determine whether Prince lied to the panel about a meeting a year ago in the Seychelles that evidence suggests was an effort to establish a backchannel between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin, they said.

After the Seychelles meeting, Nader visited the White House several times and met at least once there with former presidential adviser Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, The Washington Post said.

George Nader, a low-profile diplomatic go-between who has forged close ties to the Emirates, was stopped and questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at Dulles International Airport in January as he returned from an overseas trip, these sources say.

The Seychelles meeting took place after this initial encounter. When it might be evidence that a foreign power interfered in the USA election, with the Trump campaign's cooperation, funneling money from foreign countries into a presidential campaign. Such foreign donations to the campaign, if uncovered, would be illegal.

More news: Messi, Ronaldo shine for Barca, Madrid