A leaked memo obtained by the Daily Beast reveals that Blackwater founder Erik Prince, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, discussed having a sanctioned Russian entity invest big sums to create jobs in the Midwestern United States -- and thus secure the loyalty of Trump's base.
The memo details a meeting that took place in the Seychelles on January 17th, 2017 between Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that has been sanctioned by the United States due to its relationship with VEB, the Russian state development bank.
Specifically, the memo states that Prince and Dmitriev discussed "win-win economic investment initiatives that will be supported by both electorates," including Russian companies making "investments with RDIF financing to serve the U.S. market in the Midwest, creating real jobs for hard hit area with high employment."
The men also discussed forming a partnership between RDIF and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which is an American government agency that partners with U.S. companies to establish footholds in emerging markets.
While many of the proposals discussed during the meeting would ordinarily not be controversial, the fact that they were discussed with an incoming administration that had just benefited from Russia's efforts to interfere in an American presidential election is raising eyebrows.
"It’s breathtaking," said one former Obama-era State Department official of the proposals being discussed via an alleged back channel just after the Kremlin worked to put Trump in the White House.