Although both Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) are both under scrutiny for their shady ties to Russia, Prince is reportedly going ahead with a fundraiser for Rohrabacher’s re-election campaign on March 18 in Virginia. He faces competition from nine Democrats who would like to replace his representation in southern California.
Prince was an intern for Rohrabacher in 1990. The congressman defended Prince when his private military/mercenary company founded in 1997, Blackwater was under scrutiny from Congress during the George W. Bush administration.
It will be an expensive VIP event, complete with some interesting guests.
“The fundraising event, slated for March 18 at Prince’s Middleburg, Virginia residence, is expected to be attended by GOP Reps. Tom Garrett Jr. and Dave Brat, and Lt. Colonel Oliver North, according to an invitation obtained by CNN. Tickets start at $1,000 for the general reception, although donors paying $2,700 will also be invited to attend a VIP event beforehand.”
Erik Prince, who is Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s brother and a Trump associate, is under renewed scrutiny for his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in January 2017. The subject was the strange meeting in the Seychelles islands with UAE officials and Russian banker, Kirill Dmitriev, who is close to Putin and oversees a wealth fund the Russian government controls.
The remote island meeting was also suspected to have been an attempt to establish secret backchannel communications between Donald Trump and Russia, according to intelligence sources and Democrats.
Now it appears Special Counsel Mueller may have evidence to confirm these suspicions.
While Prince denied that was the reason for the rendezvous, he also conveniently omitted that George Nader, a Middle East specialist with ties to the Trump campaign attended that meeting. Nader is now cooperating with Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said that Prince’s omission could constitute perjury. He said:
“He never gave the name George Nader. If he met with George Nader, he lied under oath.”
Mother Jones reported that Robert Mueller now has evidence that the Seychelles islands meeting was indeed in part to set up a Trump-Putin communications back channel.
“A witness cooperating with Mueller has told investigators 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, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.”
Here is how Prince had previously described the Seychelles meeting to Fox News:
“I had a business meeting with some guys from the Middle East, and that’s why I was in the Seychelles. And they said, ‘Hey, you should meet this other guy who’s some kind of fund manager we’ve done business with.’ So I had a beer with him, not even a vodka. And it lasted a few minutes and that’s it. It had nothing to do with the United States, with the U.S. government, with the election or with the Trump campaign or anything like that.”
Some Of Prince’s Extremely Shady Past
In 2009, a former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company alleged in sworn statements filed in federal court in Virginia that Prince:
“…Views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.”
The ex-Marine also alleged that people who were planning to provide more information on Prince had “been killed in suspicious circumstances.”
In 2010, Prince sold Blackwater after rebranding itself as Xe Services LLC and Prince then helped establish a mercenary army for the United Arab Emirates.
Two years prior, in 2007, Blackwater was banned from working in Iraq after the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad, in which eight Iraqi civilians were killed by Blackwater guards working for an American diplomatic motorcade.
Three former employees were sentenced to 30 years in prison and a fourth received a life sentence related to the Iraq conflict after they opened fire on the crowd of unarmed civilians. A federal appeals court tossed out the sentences of three contractors in August 2017 and ordered a new trial for the fourth contractor.
Some Of Rohrabacher’s Extremely Shady Past
Meanwhile, Putin’s favorite congressman was one of the people that a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist, and former Soviet counterintelligence officer met with around the same time as the June 2017 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr., who was hopeful to receive dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Rohrabacher reportedly tried to show a screening of a pro-Kremlin propaganda movie meant to undermine the Magnitsky Act sanctions in a hearing before the House, but he was denied by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Ed Royce. The film-maker, Andrei Nekrasov met with Rohrabacher as well and had dinner with him at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington.
Those same Magnitsky sanctions were the main topic of the meeting in Trump Tower.
Rohrabacher reportedly met with Natalia Veselnitskaya during a trip to Moscow in 2016, two months before she met with Trump Jr. in Trump Tower.
Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet spy, and Washington lobbyist, who was also present in the Trump Tower meeting, had lobbied Rohrabacher to remove Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s name from the global anti-corruption sanctions law at least twice.
In August 2017, Rohrabacher reportedly met with Julian Assange and:
“…Tried to broker the WikiLeaks founder’s departure from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been in hiding.”
Assange was to provide evidence that Russia had not provided WikiLeaks emails stolen from the DNC in return.
See more about the extremely shady meeting below:
The next day, Rohrabacher was the subject of a now infamous conversation between House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). McCarthy said:
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump. Swear to God.”
Paul Ryan interjected amid laughter, asking that no one leak McCarthy’s words, saying:
“This is how we know we’re a family here.”
See the conversation in the brief video below from The Washington Post. This very telling conversation could come back to bite Paul Ryan at some point in the near future.
For more, see this video from Newsy:
Featured Image Via YouTube Video.