Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Mueller examining whether Seychelles meeting aimed at creating back channel

Mueller examining whether Seychelles meeting aimed at creating back channel

If that name rings a bell, it's because the New York Times just reported on Nader, and on how Mueller is interested in whether the UAE-yes, the nation Prince was meeting with on business-tried to "buy political influence" with the incoming Trump administration.

U.S., European and Arab officials told The Washington Post last April that the meeting was part of an effort to set up back-channel communications between the Kremlin and then President-elect Donald Trump.

The meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian government-controlled wealth fund, was an unimportant encounter that happened while he was meeting with officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Prince said to legislators. But when lawmakers asked him who he met with, he didn't state that Nader was at the meeting.

Prince said he was introduced to Dmitriev by U.A.E. officials and spoke with the Russian for no more than 30 minutes.

Although Prince had no official role in the Trump transition team, The Intercept-citing a former senior USA 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.

Nader is also a former consultant for Prince's firm Blackwater, which controversially provided mercenaries to the USA during the Iraq War.

H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials, including from the UAE, that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report. Prince visited the transition team's New York City office in December 2016.

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.

Investigators now suspect that the Seychelles meeting may have been one of the first efforts to establish such a line of communications between the two governments, these people said. Those outlets also reported Nader attended that Seychelles meeting a year ago.

The Washington Post said the U.A.E. agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russian Federation could be persuaded to curtail its close relationship with Iran - a key objective of both the Trump administration and several Gulf Arab countries. Such a concession by Moscow would have been likely to require the easing of USA sanctions on Russian Federation, which were imposed for Russia's intervention in Ukraine in 2014, those officials said.

The Washington Post, citing US officials, said such a concession by Moscow would have been required to justify any easing of USA sanctions on Russian Federation by the Trump administration.

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