Blackwater Security founder Erik Prince told lawmakers in the House of Representatives that they were conducting the Russian investigation that discussed the US trade policy. UU With Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian investment fund in January, but insisted that he did not operate as a secondary channel for the incoming administration of Trump.
Prince said he knew that Dmitriev was a Russian fund manager, but he did not realize that the Russian government controlled him and that he had been sanctioned by the US. UU since 2015 due to the actions of Russia in Ukraine.
The House Intelligence Committee released a 105-page transcript of the December 1 testimony of its investigation in Russia, where it was asked about the January 11 meeting in Seychelles, a remote archipelago of the Indian Ocean versus East Africa.
has drawn the attention of Congressional committees looking for possible inappropriate contacts between the Trump campaign and the transition team with the Russians, and raised questions about whether Prince could have been an unofficial envoy on behalf of Trump or its associates.
Prince, a former SEAL of the US Navy UU and brother of Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, denied that. He told the committee that he had traveled to the Seychelles nine days before Trump took office to meet with potential commercial customers in the United Arab Emirates.
During that meeting, he said, those potential customers simply "mentioned a man with whom I should also know that I was also in the city."
He told the meeting with Dmitriev at a hotel bar, where they discussed issues ranging from oil to commodity prices. He also said that Dmitriev discussed how much he wanted to restart his country. normal trade relations with the United States
"I remember telling you that if Franklin Roosevelt could work with Joseph Stalin to defeat Nazi fascism, then Donald Trump could work with Vladimir Putin to defeat Islamic fascism," Prince said.  Prince said the meeting lasted 30 minutes.
"So, this notion that it represented Trump's campaign is not true?" Representative Tom Rooney, a Republican from Florida, asked him.
"It's correct," said Prince. "I did not play any official or, really, unofficial paper," he said of the campaign.
He said he met Trump only once, at a fundraiser before the election. He said that he was simply a donor, and that he had written some foreign policy documents "in the field of advisors on what should be done in Middle East or anti-terrorism affairs."
Following the release of the transcript on Wednesday, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee, issued a statement stating that Prince was not so willing to give details about the meeting and tried to portray the discussion with Dmitriev as "mere coincidence".
"Prince also could not adequately explain why he traveled to half the world to meet with the UAE officials and, ultimately, the head of the Russian fund," said Schiff.
Schiff also noted that in his testimony, Prince acknowledged that he learned from Trump's chief campaign strategist, Steve Bannon, about a December 2016 secret meeting in New York between the emirate's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he refused to provide the committee with many details of his discussion with Bannon.
Prince also complained during his testimony about the US intelligence community. UU spying on Americans, and the so-called improper identification or "unmasking" of Americans trapped in the surveillance of foreigners.
& # 39; That's illegal & # 39;
"What really bothers me and what I expect the Intelligence Committee to do is to question it. Why would Americans who were caught in waves of intelligence signals, why on Earth would the Washington Post run an article on Any meeting that a private cyber Tizen, I, was having in a foreign country, "he said. "That is illegal."
Prince claimed to have received a leak of classified information from former employees of the intelligence community about his trip to the Seychelles, but Schiff said he refused to reveal who provided the information.
Prince is best known for his role in Blackwater, which was hired to provide private security during the US war. UU With Iraq. The controversy erupted in 2007, when Blackwater guards stopped traffic for a shot from the State Department convoy and killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians during a chaotic scene in Nisour Square in Baghdad.