Eric Prince Discussed Trade and Terrorism with Russian Banker

A transcript of an interview with congressional investigators shows that Eric Prince, the founder of private military contractor Blackwater USA, provided details about a meeting he had with a Russian banker, denying that he did so on behalf of President Donald Trump. The transcript was released on Wednesday and details Prince’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee which took place on November 30.

Prince held a meeting in January with a person close to Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to establish a way for the two presidents to communicate privately. The meeting in the Seychelles was reportedly arranged by representatives for the United Arab Emirates.

Prince claimed in his testimony that he didn’t have a role in President Trump’s campaign and transition, whether official or unofficial, although he had provided Steve Bannon, the chief executive of the campaign, with policy papers he had written. Prince admitted he had contacts with Trump and members of his campaign and transition team.

Concerning the January meeting, Prince said he traveled to the Seychelles islands at the request of a UAE prince to discuss business opportunities with him. Prince added that he also met with a Russian banker, Kirill Dmitriev, to talk about trade between Russia and the U.S., as well as “how the United States and Russia should be working together to defeat Islamic terrorism,” Prince said in his testimony.

“I remember telling him that if Franklin Roosevelt could work with Joseph Stalin to defeat fascism, certainly the United States could work with Vladimir Putin to defeat Islamic fascism,” Prince said.

Dimitriev is the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund which has been subject to U.S. sanctions, but Prince maintained the two didn’t discuss those sanctions. At one point in the interview, Prince grew frustrated with the committee’s questions which prompted Representative Adam Schiff, the committee’s Democratic ranking member, to tell him that if he did not cooperate he would be subpoenaed to return.

Schiff said on Wednesday that Prince was not “forthcoming” when discussing the January meeting.

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