Evidence Of Trump Efforts To Set Up Back Channel With Kremlin

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The special counsel Robert Mueller has learned from a witness that a 2017 meeting in the Seychelles islands between an associate of President Donald Trump and a top Kremlin ally was arranged in order to establish a backchannel of communication between the USA and Russia, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The Post reports, however, that George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, is cooperating with Mueller and said the meeting was "set up in advance so that a representative of the Trump transition could meet with an emissary from Moscow to discuss future relations between the countries".

One month before Prince met with Dmitriev, Kushner also reportedly proposed a secret back-channel of communication between the Trump team and Moscow using Russian facilities.

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As the Post, CNN and the New York Times have now reported, Nader became a cooperating witness in Mueller's investigation in mid-January when he was intercepted by federal authorities at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. He had meant to travel on to a party at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

Mueller is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 USA election, including whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favor. Here's what we know about Nader, why Mueller is interested in the Trump campaign's contacts with the U.A.E., and what the Seychelles meeting could mean for the Russian Federation investigation. Nader met with the two Trump officials in NY in December 2016 and again in the White House after inauguration, according to their reports.

Now, Democrats like Rep. Eric Swalwell say if Prince did actually meet with Nader, then he lied under oath.

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Democrats on the House intelligence committee are sounding alarms about testimony regarding who attended a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles that's come under intense scrutiny in the Trump-Russia probes.

Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, never held a formal role in the Trump campaign, the transition team, or the administration, but has been a vocal supporter of Trump nonetheless. Prince denied representing the Trump campaign and incoming administration during the meeting, which he characterized as a chance encounter over a beer that lasted no more than 30 minutes. "The Emiratis I'd just met with previously said, 'There's an interesting guy from Russian Federation you should meet, if you have any business in the commodity space, ' which I do", Prince said.

The UAE official reportedly had ties with senior White House adviser and President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon during the presidential transition.

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After the Seychelles meeting, Dmitriev also met with Anthony Scaramucci, who would later become the White House communications director, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. While Prince dismissed the narrative that he acted as a Trump envoy, he did concede that Bannon had informed him of Prince Mohammed's 2016 NY meeting before the Seychelles encounter.

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