Developments in the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign are breaking fast and furiously today.
Right after The New York Times reported that President Trump had spoken to witnesses about their conversations with Mueller’s investigators, The Washington Post broke their own scoop, that the Trump administration tried to set up a back channel to communicate with the Kremlin right before the inauguration by sending Erik Prince, the founder of notorious private security company Blackwater and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, to a secret meeting in the Seychelles Islands.
While the meeting Prince had in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian government-controlled wealth fund, was previously known, Prince dismissed the meeting in his testimony in front of congressional investigators as a chance encounter that took place while he was in the island nation discussing business deals with representatives from the United Arab Emirates.
The true nature of the meeting as being previously planned in advance, with an agenda of discussing U.S. – Russia relations moving forward under the incoming administration, was reportedly disclosed recently by George Nader, the Lebanese American businessman who helped organize and attended the Seychelles meeting.
Nader was served with a subpoena to testify in front of Mueller’s grand jury when he arrived back in America at Washington’s Dulles Airport in January. Once Mueller’s team delivered the subpoena, Nader has been cooperating in the investigation and has already testified on the matter before a grand jury gathering evidence about discussions between the Trump transition team and emissaries of the Kremlin,.
Prince told congressional investigators that he went to the Seychelles as a private citizen, not in any capacity as a representative of the Trump administration. He grew uncomfortable during his congressional testimony when pressed by Democratic legislators to expand upon his answers with more specificity and complained that U.S. intelligence agencies were leaking info about his activities.
Prince has reportedly known Nader for years as a business contact in the Middle East. If the reports of Nader’s testimony are true, Prince faces charges of false testimony under oath to Congress, and Mueller is one step closer in his investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, particularly since Nader visited the White House several times and met there at least once with former Senior Advisor Steve Bannon and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner after the meeting in the Seychelles with the Russians.
The plot thickens, and we await the thrilling conclusion.