Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Mueller examining whether Seychelles meeting aimed at creating back channel

Mueller examining whether Seychelles meeting aimed at creating back channel

Nader has long served as an adviser to the UAE leadership, and in that role he met a few times with Trump officials, including Stephen K. Bannon and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Post said Nader has been cooperating with Mueller and has met numerous times with investigators since he was stopped and questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after he arrived at Washington's Dulles International Airport in January. But the Washington Post reports that the meeting appears to have been arranged in advance as a way to set up a "back channel" between the Trump White House and the Kremlin. Nader attended the Seychelles gathering on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, where he serves as an adviser to the royal family.

According to the Post, investigators now suspect the Seychelles meeting may have been one of the first efforts to establish such a line of communications between the two governments.

According to The Times, the meeting was convened by UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who Nader advises.

Prince, the founder of the former Blackwater contracting firm, had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition.

Prince could not be reached for comment. "Which is accurate? I don't know, and we should find out".

Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign aided Moscow's interference in the 2016 election.

Prince, on the other hand, would have to return to the committee for a second interview.

Erik Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and a former adviser to Trump, was at the meeting.

The Seychelles meeting would not be the only reported effort by Trump associates to set up a secret line of communication with Russian Federation.

Mueller has also asked numerous witnesses about how the president's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, set up calls with foreign leaders and whether he bypassed normal protocols that kept records of the contacts and the content of the discussions. He added that the panel is waiting for Prince to provide documents to the committee they had requested.

Conaway refused to say Thursday whether the committee would or had scheduled any interviews beyond Lewandowski's. Trump unpopularity dragging down two vulnerable California Republicans The Hill's 12:30 Report FBI flagged Moscow-connected Russians attending Trump inauguration: report MORE (R-Calif.) at his Virginia home later this month. Democrats, meanwhile, accuse Republicans of trying to stifle the investigation to protect the president.

Prince also told congressional investigators he did not remember when or where he had a conversation with Steve Bannon, then a senior Trump adviser, during which Bannon told Prince he had met MBZ in NY in December, just weeks before Prince traveled to the Seychelles.

Schiff also says there are "large categories of documents" that need to be subpoenaed, including Roger Stone's communications, as well as Donald Trump Jr.'s communications with WikiLeaks.

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