Trump associate may have hidden backchannel to Putin from Congress


Trump associate Erik Prince tried to cover up the purpose of a meeting in Seychelles with a Putin confidante. Now Robert Mueller is zeroing in.

Trump loyalist Erik Prince tried to obscure the facts surrounding his January 2017 meeting with a Kremlin official in Seychelles. But special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating the meeting.

And new reporting in the Washington Post indicates it may have been part of an effort to establish a backchannel between Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Mueller, who recently intercepted Prince associate and United Arab Emirates adviser George Nader, is gathering evidence to support this theory. Nader reportedly arranged the Seychelles meeting for Prince and is cooperating with Mueller's prosecutors.

But according to House Democrats, Prince revealed none of this under questioning by congressional investigators.

When asked about the meeting, Prince denied he was acting as an intermediary between Trump and Russia. And he did not disclose Nader's involvement at all.

Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and a former White House intern under George W. Bush. He's also the founder of the defense contractor Blackwater, a company infamous for the 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad. Blackwater contractors fired machine guns and grenade launchers into a crowd of civilians from an armored personnel vehicle, killing 17 and injuring 20.

Prince fled the United States, sold his stake in the company, and lay low after the massacre.

Yet he appears to have had some level of influence with Trump. Disturbingly, Trump even considered outsourcing the war in Afghanistan to mercenary groups similar to Blackwater.

And now Prince seems to have played an active role as an intermediary between the Trump team and the Kremlin.

Mueller, at the very least, appears to think this is a real possibility. And he is seeking answers.