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

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

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

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.

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.

"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.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince arrives for a closed meeting with members of the House Intelligence Committee, Nov. 30, on Capitol Hill.

Schiff said Lewandowski wouldn't answer questions about Trump's firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, any discussions he had with the president about firing special counsel Robert Mueller, and the writing of a misleading statement about why Donald Trump Jr. attended a June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower.

Although Prince had no official role in the Trump transition team, The Intercept-citing a former senior US official that advised the transition-reported in January 2017 that he had weighed in on Defense and State Department candidates and provided advice on intelligence and defense. "I remember telling him that if Franklin Roosevelt could work with Josef Stalin to defeat Nazi fascism, then certainly Donald Trump could work with Vladimir Putin to defeat Islamic fascism". He has met numerous times with investigators. Prince visited the transition team's New York City office in December 2016.

While the episodes likely do not amount to witness tampering, Trump's insistence on approaching Mueller's witnesses about their testimony could give the appearance that he's attempting to interfere.

A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment. But on top of the reportedly illicit nature of the meeting, Prince's role as a representative for the Trump administration is disconcerting, given his reputation as a war profiteer and anti-Muslim Crusader.

The Post reported Nader has testified before a grand jury gathering evidence about discussions between the Trump transition team and emissaries of the Kremlin as part of Mueller's investigation.

Schiff's push for new witnesses comes amid hints the committee could be winding down its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Senior adviser Jared Kushner sits behind President Donald Trump during a cabinet meeting at the White House.

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. Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), who is running the panel's Russian Federation probe, declined to comment Thursday about whether he would call Nader or Prince for an interview. Devlin Barrett writes about national security and law enforcement for The Washington Post.

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