Democrat seeks businessman in Mueller probe

Democrat seeks businessman in Mueller probe

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported "that a secret meeting in Seychelles just before the inauguration of Donald Trump was an effort to establish a back channel between the incoming administration and the Kremlin".

The meeting on a small island off the eastern coast of Africa was between Erik Prince, the founder of the private military contractor Blackwater USA, and an official with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Washington Post reports. Rep. Adam Schiff wants to determine whether Prince lied to the panel about a meeting past year in the Seychelles that evidence suggests was an effort to establish a backchannel between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin, they said.

Napolitano said Mueller has the authority to "go down any rabbit hole he wants" as more and more witnesses cooperate with investigators, such as businessman George Nader who reportedly helped set up the Seychelles meeting.

The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says he wants to question a Lebanese-American businessman who's cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

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A person familiar with the investigation says Nader was approached by law enforcement at an airport in January and testified last week before the grand jury Mueller's been using. Prince told lawmakers that the meeting came about by chance while he was there on his own business to meet with officials from the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE officials suggested he visit the hotel bar and meet Dmitriev, Prince told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2017.

While there is no indication that Nader is suspected of wrongdoing, his knowledge of key meetings involving the Emiratis and others could be helpful to the special counsel in understanding the inner workings of the transition and possible efforts to influence key figures in the administration. In fact, Prince-founder of the security firm Blackwater and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos-testified to a House panel about it previous year.

Prince denied WaPo's reporting in 2017 that showed USA and European officials describing the Seychelles meeting as part of an effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and the incoming administration. However, according to officials familiar with the meeting, he presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up his meeting with the Russian official.

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