Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been provided "total access" to Blackwater founder Erik Prince's phones and computer, and is voluntarily cooperating with the Russia investigation, reports ABC News.
Prince, America's most famous private military contractor, admitted last week that he has "cooperated" with the Mueller probe after allegations of an alleged attempt to establish a backchannel emerged - something Prince has repeatedly denied.
A spokesperson for Prince told ABC that Prince basically thinks the Mueller investigation is a farce, but he is cooperating.
“As Mr. Prince told the Daily Beast he has spoken voluntarily with Congress and also cooperated completely with the Special Counsel’s investigation, including by providing them total access to his phones and computer,” the spokesperson said. “Mr. Prince has a lot of opinions about the various investigations, but there is no question that they are important and serious, and so Mr. Prince will keep his opinions to himself for now and to let the investigators do their work. All we will add is that much of the reporting and speculation about Mr. Prince in the media is inaccurate, and we are confident that when the investigators have finished their work, we will be able to put these distractions to the side.”
The Washington Post reported in April 2017 about a trip Prince took to Seychelles in January following Donald Trump's election, in which he allegedly met with a Russian official with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Prince, whose sister is Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, testified before the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last November that he did not make the trip "to meet any Russian guy," and described his meeting with Kirill Dmitriev - the Putin-appointed head of Russian's sovereign wealth fund - as chance encounter "over a beer."
That said, Mueller may have obtained evidence that calls Prince's account into question.
ABC News reported earlier this year that Mueller has obtained evidence that calls that testimony into question. Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, a key witness given limited immunity by Mueller, told investigators that he set up the meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and Dmitriev, sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News. Documents obtained by Mueller also suggest that before and after Prince met Nader in New York a week before the trip, Nader shared information with Prince about Dmitriev.
And that’s not the only potential inconsistency in Prince’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that appears to have caught the attention of investigators.
Prince had a simple answer when asked by Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, whether he ever had any "investments" or "business partnerships with Russian nationals."
"Zero," Prince replied. -ABC News
Two former business associates of Prince told ABC News that they have been approached by investigators looking into a pair of business proposals between the Prince-Founded Hong Kong-based security firm Frontier Services Group, and Russian nationals.
For the proposed contract, named "Project Zulu," Prince and Streshinskiy, a dual Russian-Israeli citizen, each stood to make $21 million, or 20 percent of the proposed $216 million deal, according to the interim report. The deal fell through over a financial dispute, another former business associate said. -ABC News
One of the former associates who has worked with Prince since the 1990s conveyed a recent conversation with FBI investigators from Mueller's office:
"Are you aware of any falsehoods in the testimony that Erik Prince gave to the House Intelligence Committee?" the associate said agents asked him.
The associate said he told the agents about Prince's previously undisclosed alliance with Dimitriy Streshinskiy, a former Russian special forces soldier turned arms dealer and manufacturer.
According to a 2015 interim report from an internal investigation conducted for the company by an outside law firm, a man named “Dimitry,” whom two sources later told ABC News was actually Streshinskiy, acted as Prince's partner in an effort to secure a possibly illegal private security contract with Azerbaijan. -ABC News
That internal investigation, first reported by The Intercept in March, was turned over to the Department of Justice (DOJ) towards the end of President Obama's second term, reports ABC. The findings resulted in two senior company officials resigning in protest over Prince's alleged activities, according to ABC's source.
Another former Prince associate told ABC that the FBI approached him about Frontier Service Group's association with the Russian state-owned energy firm Rostec - which asked Frontier to work on logistics for proposed refinery operations in Uganda and Tanzania.
“Frontier Services Group was trying to build a relationship with Rostec to be the logistics guys,” the associate said, “and Rostec met with Erik.”
Work began, the associate said, but the deal fell through when the United States imposed sanctions on the Kremlin-run firm in 2014 because of Russian military operations in Ukraine, and the firm was never paid by the Russians.
In response to questions from ABC News, a spokesperson for Prince said that neither deal came to fruition. -ABC News
"Any discussions between FSG and those individuals predated the existence of the Trump campaign, and never resulted in any business being done,” the spokesperson said.
That said, a third Prince business associate disputes the above characterization of events - saying it may have been "pre-Trump" and no "business" resulted from the meetings because the deals were never finalized.
Prince on Weiner
As an aside, Prince said back on November 4, 2016 that after obtaining Anthony Weiner's laptop, the NYPD wanted to do a press conference announcing warrants and additional arrests, but received "huge pushback" from the Obama DOJ.
“From what I understand, up to the commissioner or at least the chief level in NYPD, they wanted to have a press conference, and DOJ, Washington people, political appointees have been exerting all kinds of undue pressure on them to back down,” Prince said - explaining that the NYPD finally threatened the FBI to reopen the Clinton email investigation or else they would go public with what they found.
Prince claimed he had insider knowledge of the investigation that could help explain why FBI Director James Comey had to announce he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s email server last week.
“Because of Weinergate and the sexting scandal, the NYPD started investigating it. Through a subpoena, through a warrant, they searched his laptop, and sure enough, found those 650,000 emails. They found way more stuff than just more information pertaining to the inappropriate sexting the guy was doing,” Prince claimed.
“They found State Department emails. They found a lot of other really damning criminal information, including money laundering, including the fact that Hillary went to this sex island with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Bill Clinton went there more than 20 times. Hillary Clinton went there at least six times,” he said.
“The amount of garbage that they found in these emails, of criminal activity by Hillary, by her immediate circle, and even by other Democratic members of Congress was so disgusting they gave it to the FBI, and they said, ‘We’re going to go public with this if you don’t reopen the investigation and you don’t do the right thing with timely indictments,’” Prince explained. -Breitbart
“NYPD was the first one to look at that laptop,” Prince elaborated. “Weiner and Huma Abedin, his wife – the closest adviser of Hillary Clinton for 20 years – have both flipped. They are cooperating with the government. They both have – they see potential jail time of many years for their crimes, for Huma Abedin sending and receiving and even storing hundreds of thousands of messages from the State Department server and from Hillary Clinton’s own homebrew server, which contained classified information. Weiner faces all kinds of exposure for the inappropriate sexting that was going on and for other information that they found.”
“So NYPD first gets that computer. They see how disgusting it is. They keep a copy of everything, and they pass a copy on to the FBI, which finally pushes the FBI off their chairs, making Comey reopen that investigation, which was indicated in the letter last week. The point being, NYPD has all the information, and they will pursue justice within their rights if the FBI doesn’t,” Prince contended.
“There is all kinds of criminal culpability through all the emails they’ve seen of that 650,000, including money laundering, underage sex, pay-for-play, and, of course, plenty of proof of inappropriate handling, sending/receiving of classified information, up to SAP level Special Access Programs,” he stated.
“So the plot thickens. NYPD was pushing because, as an article quoted one of the chiefs – that’s the level just below commissioner – he said as a parent, as a father with daughters, he could not let that level of evil continue,” Prince said.