Erik Prince: I ‘Cooperated’ With Mueller

Source: Daily Beast | June 19, 2018 | Betsy Woodruff

The Trumpworld insider is under scrutiny for his alleged backchanneling with Russia, his work for China, and his plans for Afghanistan. He defends it all in a new interview.

Erik Prince, the founder of private security company Blackwater, has found himself embroiled in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

During the campaign, Prince reportedly met at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., operative George Nader, and social media specialist Joel Zamel to discuss a potential pro-Trump social media influence operation. He also met with Russian sovereign wealth fund manager Kirill Dmitriev during the transition period—a meeting reportedly planned to set up a backchannel between the Trump administration and Russia. Those revelations raise questions about his relationship to the Trump administration—questions Mueller is reportedly investigating.

Prince, a billionaire and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has also lobbied for a massive overhaul of the way the Afghanistan War is being prosecuted, pushing for increased reliance on private contractors to train Afghan troops to fight the Taliban. Prince was also recently the subject of an in-depth Washington Post report about the work his security company Frontier Services Group is doing in China. The report quoted critics saying Prince’s work runs counter to American interests in Asia.

This is Prince’s first on-the-record interview in months. It has been lightly edited for clarity.

There’s been a lot of reporting that Mueller’s interested in some of the meetings you had in the lead-up to the campaign and after the election and I was just wondering if you could tell me if you’ve heard from anyone on Mueller’s team?

I certainly understand the intense interest in the investigation and certainly some of the wild-eyed reporting in the media. I have spoken voluntarily to Congress and I also cooperated with the special counsel. I have plenty of opinions about the various investigations but there’s no question some people are taking it seriously and I think it’s best to keep my opinion on that to myself for now. All I will add is that much of the reporting about me in the media is inaccurate, and I am confident that when the investigators have finished their work, we will be able to put these distractions to the side.

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