During a January 7 appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Blackwater founder Erik Prince discussed being questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators—a process he characterized as being worse than a “proctology exam.”
Mueller’s team wanted to discuss Prince’s early 2017 meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian investor with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting took place in Seychelles about nine days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, and Mueller reportedly wanted to see if their meeting was part of an effort to establish a line of communication between the incoming Trump Administration and the Kremlin.
Prince, a Trump supporter and the brother of Trump’s secretary of education Betsy DeVos, described the encounter with Dmitriev as “incidental” and unplanned. The Blackwater founder said he was invited to Seychelles by representatives of Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to discuss “terrorism in the area.”
Prince told CNBC, “I went to see an old friend, leadership in the UAE after the election, and there was a Russian there. So I had no contact with him before, no contact after.”
Prince said of being questioned by Mueller’s team, “I answered their questions, and they haven’t talked to me since…..Any time you sit down for an interview like that, I think you’d rather go to a proctology exam.”
Asked for his takeaway on the questioning, Prince told CNBC it was “much ado about nothing.”
Prince, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, founded the militarized security firm Blackwater with associate Al Clark in 1997. Under the George W. Bush Administration, Blackwater was hired for private security operations during the Iraq War. The most infamous day in Blackwater’s history came on September 16, 2007, when Blackwater employees fired on a crowd of civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square and 17 people were killed. The FBI has determined that 14 of them were fired upon without cause.
Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services in 2009 before renaming itself Academi in 2011.