Erik Prince, an influential but informal member of Trump’s orbit, met with close Putin ally Kirill Dmitriev twice during the transition period in the Seychelles. These meetings, which were brokered by UAE advisor George Nader, were part of an effort to establish a secret backchannel between the Trump team and Russia. Meeting participants have conflicting accounts of who was involved and who knew. Prince and Nader have indicated Steve Bannon was involved – and there is some evidence in the report to support this – but he has denied this and refused to answer questions about it. Prince has been accused of lying to Congress about these meetings in a criminal referral from the House Intelligence Committee. His attorney claims the referral contains no new evidence.
According to the Mueller Report, the Trump campaign chairman and the deputy campaign chairman knowingly met with Konstantin Kilimnik, a suspected Russian agent, and shared confidential internal polling data. In addition to sensitive opinion data, they informed Kilimnik of the states the campaign was targeting, including Michigan and Wisconsin, where Trump had surprise victories.
According to the Mueller Report, close Kushner friend Rick Gerson was in regular communication with Kirill Dmitriev, head of the sanctioned Russian Direct Investment Fund, during the transition period. Gerson and Dmitriev worked on a U.S.-Russia relations plan that was likely cleared by Putin and eventually passed to Kushner, Bannon, and Tillerson. Gerson was reportedly in the Seychelles at the time of the infamous meeting between Trump associate Erik Prince and Dmitriev but has denied attending.
Breaking Down the Mueller Report: Dmitry Peskov and Kirill Dmitriev’s Post Election Trip to New York
According to the Mueller report, two influential Kremlin figures were in New York immediately after the election. Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, was there explicitly to solicit meetings with Trump transition members. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary - who has been linked to the Russian interference campaign - was in town to attend the World Chess Championship. It does not appear that the FBI was closely monitoring these senior Kremlin figures while they were in New York, raising questions about the vigor of the FBI’s Russia investigation.
According to the Mueller Report, almost immediately after Trump’s election, Jared Kushner met with two high-ranking individuals: Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the time, and Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, who heads the sanctioned Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank (VEB). Why was Kushner meeting with high-ranking, Kremlin-connected Russians when the Trump transition team was well aware of Russian efforts to interfere in the elections? Why did Kushner later hide these meetings from the government?
Hope Hicks spent most of her closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary Committee stonewalling, refusing to answer 155 questions about her time in the White House. But what she did say included a potential bombshell that deserves further investigation, and that shows why Mueller’s report is far from the final word on the Russia investigation.
At the end of a nearly two year investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller made clear that Russia engaged in “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.” President Donald Trump, however, doesn’t see it that way. He argued Wednesday night that this type of attack was “not an interference,” and when asked about what he would do if he was offered information about an opponent from a foreign country again, Trump said, “I think I’d take it.” This should come as little surprise. The Trump campaign eagerly welcomed such assistance in the last election; all told, the campaign staff, transition staff and their associates had more than 270 contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition — which they then desperately sought to hide from the press, the public and even law enforcement.