Erik Prince, the founder of the private security company Blackwater, has publically acknowledged meeting with members of the Trump campaign in August 2016 at Trump Tower for the first time. Despite failing to disclose the meeting during his testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee last year, Prince admitted to Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan that the meeting took place after being pressed on the issue.
We were there … to talk about Iran policy,” Prince said to Hasan.
According to reports, the Trump Tower meeting was attended by Prince, Donald Trump Jr., former Blackwater employee and emissary for the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates George Nader, senior policy advisor Stephen Miller and Joel Zamer, founder of Psy-Group who employed former Israeli intelligence and specialized in social media manipulation.
Prince did not disclose information he knew about the meeting when testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on November 30, 2017, but rather said he had no official or unofficial role in the Trump campaign. He also went on to say he did not have any formal communications or contact with the campaign other than policy papers given to Steve Bannon, attending select fundraisers and putting a Trump sign on his yard.
When Hasan asked Prince why he didn’t disclose the meeting while testifying, he initially said he disclosed the “very, very few” meetings he had. When Hasan pressed further, Prince said he didn’t believe he was asked that question but later contradicted himself saying he did tell the panel about the meeting.
When asked why it wasn’t in the public transcript, Prince stated he thought the transcript could be wrong and dug himself even deeper by later saying “not all of the discussion that day was transcribed”. He couldn’t keep his story straight though, adding that he “certainly” remembers discussing the meeting with investigators.
Prince’s comments to Hasan are the first time he has publicly acknowledged his role in the Trump Tower meeting. Nader, the former Blackwater employee, was apparently seeking to advance a plan to destabilize Iran through private military contracts.
Featured image via Al Jazeera screen capture