Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Mueller gathering evidence Team Trump sought secret back channel to Kremlin at Seychelles meeting

Mueller gathering evidence Team Trump sought secret back channel to Kremlin at Seychelles meeting:


It is not the single biggest problem of the new Trump era, to be sure, but we all long for a future day when we do not have to wake up to headlines like “Trump names notorious anti-porn crusader who wants stripper registry to Health Department.”
“I was two days away from mailing my petitions to seek a 14th term in office when the White House liaison office called me and I had to make a quick decision,” [Pennsylvania State Rep. Matt Baker] said. [...]
In 2015, Baker made headlines when he proposed a registry for strippers. The small-government Republican from rural Tioga wanted to require strippers to register their name, stage name, address, phone number, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, hair color, eye color, criminal background information and their photo ID.
Baker, who has been a state representative since 1992, also opposes medical marijuana and advanced a bill to declare pornography a public health crisis, but more importantly he's willing to praise Trump, declaring him "very serious about improving quality of life and reducing deaths, and so many other issues that I also support." He has now moved to a new position inside the Trump Department of Health and Human Services.
And in the grand scheme of things, sure, whatever. This is precisely the sort of hardcore social conservative you'd expect the Trump administration, which has been scraping the bottom of the national barrel to fill administration positions for a year and change now, to plop into a government position. But that still doesn't mean we have to be happy that we live in a universe that produced Trump names notorious anti-porn crusader who wants stripper registry to Health Department as an actual, factual description of a current event.
I mean, c’mon.
Erik Prince, former Navy Seal and founder of private military contractor Blackwater USA, arrives to testify during a closed-door House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, November 30, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Erik Prince (above) and a Russian banking representative met in January 2017 just before Trump took office.
The Washington Post is reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller is gathering evidence that a Seychelles meeting in January 2017 involving a U.A.E. adviser and Trump-connected Erik Prince was aimed at creating a secret back channel between the incoming Trump administration and Russia. The U.A.E. adviser, George Nader, is now reportedly cooperating with Mueller. Prince had originally painted the meeting in a very different light during a Congressional interview last year. The Post writes:
Erik Prince, the founder of the private military company Blackwater, met with a Russian official close to President Vladi­mir Putin, and later described the meeting to congressional investigators as a chance encounter that was not a planned discussion of U.S.-Russia relations.
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 two countries, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. [...]
Last year, Prince told lawmakers — and the press — that his Seychelles meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian government-controlled wealth fund, was an unplanned, unimportant encounter that came about by chance because he happened to be at a luxury hotel in the Indian Ocean island nation with officials from the United Arab Emirates.

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