Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL and founder of the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater, has said that being questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators might worse than undergoing a “proctology exam.”
Prince, who also happens to be the brother of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was questioned by Mueller about a secret meeting he had in the Seychelles islands with the Vladimir Putin-appointed Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev, CNBC reported.
The meeting drew scrutiny given that it occurred close to Donald Trump‘s inauguration — nine days before it, to be exact — and given that there were concerns Russia was trying to create a “backchannel” for communication between Moscow and Trump. Mueller has been tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and any crimes that may have arisen over the course of that investigation.
Prince said that while the Mueller interview was ultimately “much ado about nothing,” it wasn’t exactly pleasant.
“I answered their questions, and they haven’t talked to me since,” he said. “Look, anytime you sit down for an interview like that it’s — I think you probably would rather go to a proctology exam.”
Prince said that the timing of the Dmitriev meeting was “incidental” and that no such backchannel discussion occurred. He said he had no contact with Dmitriev before the Seychelles and no contact with him after it.
“I went to see an old friend, leadership in the UAE after the election, and there was a Russian there,” Prince said, adding that when Mueller asked about that meeting he gave him an explanation, and hasn’t heard back since. But Mueller has seized devices belonging to Prince and even granted businessman George Nader limited immunity. Nader claimed that he set up the meeting with Prince and Dmitriev.
Prince testified before the House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee on Nov. 30, 2017.
[Image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]