JEREMY SCAHILL: Now, I remember when President Obama was elected and Leon Panetta was serving as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Panetta went to Capitol Hill early on in the first year of the Obama administration, and he emerged from his meetings with you guys on the Intelligence Committee and said that there had been an assassination program involving Erik Prince and Blackwater, but that had been shut down. What can you tell us about that chapter in all of this, Erik Prince, Blackwater being involved with a CIA assassination program?
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY: Yeah, I can’t—I really can’t, I don’t think even at this point, tell. We did a study on the committee. I had insisted on it. And we actually—and it’s on the shelf, and I’ve encouraged current members of the Intelligence Committee to take a look, especially as they’re investigating Erik Prince right now. But when I say anything goes when it comes to Erik Prince—and, of course, you know, he was working closely with the Bush administration, and there were operations, intelligence operations, that were coming out of the Vice President’s Office, and he was a valuable player in carrying out what they may have defined as the mission.
And Erik is, I think, one frightening guy. One of the current members of the Intelligence Committee said, even after the testimony they had, that he’s the scariest person he ever met. I have to tell you, Jeremy, you know, at one point, because on the floor of the House, members can say whatever they want, without liability, and he threatened to sue me. I got a letter from their lawyers. And even though he couldn’t sue me, I have to tell you, I had my apartment in Washington swept. He makes me very nervous.
But this time, I think that Mueller may actually be catching up with Erik Prince and the kind of lies that just roll off his lips, the kind of description of what he’s done, what he did in the past, which is clearly not true. Lying to Congress is against the law. And, you know, what a coincidence that he met with all these people in the Seychelles! Isn’t that amazing?
On one of the latest episodes of Jeremy Scahill’s podcast “Intercepted,” he interviews Democratic Congressmember Jan Schakowsky about Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, who is now under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. For more listen to Democracy Now! Amy Goodman intervewing Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept.
A shady meeting in Seychelles between a Trump associate and a Russian businessman is emerging as a focus in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — and raising questions about whether one participant lied to Congress about it.
Erik Prince, a Trump booster who is the founder of the private security firm Blackwater, met with Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian wealth fund manager with ties to President Vladimir Putin, on January 11, 2017, in Seychelles, an island chain off the coast of East Africa. When the encounter was first reported last April, sources claimed the meeting’s purpose was to establish a back channel between the Trump team and Russian officials.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said he wants to determine whether Prince lied to the panel about a meeting last year in the Seychelles that evidence suggests was an effort to establish a back channel between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin. He wants the panel to also speak with George Nader, a Lebanese American businessman who helped organize the meeting in the Seychelles, because his reported version of events “is obviously at odds with” what Prince told the panel in November.
Erik Prince, the latest Trump associate in the spotlight of the Russia investigations, wears many hats.
He is an international traveler, a wealthy businessman with high-profile contacts, a former Navy SEAL with overseas experience and founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater.During the 2016 presidential campaign, Prince grew closer to Donald Trump's orbit. During the transition, he attended a controversial meeting with a Russian banker in the Seychelles, an island chain in the Indian Ocean, that has become the subject of scrutiny for Russia investigators back home.The investigators are sure to pry for details about Prince's links to Trump's team and the purpose of the Seychelles meeting. Here is a summary of his background and his role in the investigations.