Though it has generally fallen out of the public eye in the last week, the Robert Mueller special investigation into allegations of ‘Russian collusion’ with the Donald Trump presidential campaign is ongoing. Though the investigation still hasn’t managed to produce any evidence of the claimed ‘collusion,’ it’s still targeting allies of the President.
The latest ally picked by Mueller’s investigation is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, and a known friend of the Trump campaign. It appears that the investigation hoped that they could use anything they find on the man who started America’s most famous private military contractor to get him to turn on the Commander-in-Chief. This may be what certain elected democrats were talking about when they made cryptic “buckle up” statements about the next few weeks of the Mueller investigation… this unbelievable seizure of his phones and computers. What judge is approving this sort of harassment?!
Last week, Prince, who is no newcomer to federal investigations, admitted that he has recently cooperated with demands from the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Blackwater founder faced increased scrutiny from the special investigation due to claims that he attempted to establish a backchannel between the Donald J. Trump campaign and administration and the Russian government in the Kremlin.
It goes almost without saying that everyone involved has said that this is not the case at all.
According to ABC News, however, Mr. Prince’s communications records are being probed by Mueller and company. This seems to suggest that the ongoing investigation might attempt to ‘squeeze’ the former United States Navy SEAL, applying pressure in hopes of turning him against the Trump administration as a witness of some sort.
In a response to this report, a spokesperson for Prince, who is the brother of Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, said that the veteran turned over “total access” to his phone and computer to the investigators.
The spokesperson said that the not only did he turn over that unrestricted access, but that he also voluntarily appeared before Congress to answer questions that they had for him.
The spokesperson added that Prince would keep his opinions about the investigation to himself, and that much of what the media and investigation suggests or suspects about his involvement is contrary to reality. The spokesman said that by the end of the Mueller inquest, he expects that all the rumors and speculation will be permanently put to rest.
A spokesperson for the special investigation did not have any comment for the press, on the other hand.
In April of last year, the Washington Post alleged that Prince went overseas to Seychelles in January 2017, after Donald Trump was elected, for a ‘secret’ meeting with a Russian official with ‘close ties’ to Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.
In November, the former SEAL appeared before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and testified that never made the trip to meet “any Russian guy,” and that his meeting with Kirill Dmitriev was simply a chance encounter over a beer in a pub.
According to an earlier report from ABC News, Mueller has information from George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman with multiple convictions for child pornography and sexual abuse, that calls those claims into question.
However, the fact that the investigation provided him with limited immunity in exchange for information that claims he set up the meeting between Prince and Dmitriev in Seychelles, and that the ‘businessman’ shared information about the Russian before the meeting.
Some have suggested that there is another inconsistency in his testimony before the HIC, specifically in the answer that Erik Prince gave to a democrat congressman from California.
Rep. Eric Swalwell asked whether he had any investments or ‘business partnerships’ with Russian nationals, to which the former SEAL replied that he had “Zero.”
According to two former business associates who wished to remain nameless, they had been contacted by the investigation concerning a pair of business deals proposed between Hong Kong’s ‘Frontier Services Group,’ which was founded and chaired by Prince, and Russian nationals.
Another former associate alleges that he told investigators about an undisclosed relationship between the Blackwater founder and Dimitriy Streshinskiy, formerly a Russian special forces soldier in the Spetsnaz who became an arms dealer and manufacturer.
It seems that no matter what the case may be, Swalwell is happy to see the government targeting Prince again.
The big question, though, is how would it be illegal for Donald Trump to reach out to Russia after he was elected?
This investigation appears to center around the idea that the brother of one of the President’s cabinet members reached out to set up a back channel to the Russian government after he was elected.
Allegedly, Barack Obama’s campaign, prior to his election, tried to set up a back channel to the Iranian government, via retired ambassador William G. Miller. But, no one apparently cares about that.
The Mueller investigation looks more like a fishing expedition drenched in hypocrisy with every passing day, and the new front into Erik Prince isn’t helping change that perception.