‘Utter nonsense’: Kremlin denies reports of Blackwater founder helping establish Putin-Trump ties
“This is complete nonsense,” Peskov said on Tuesday after posed with a question by a reporter.
Earlier Monday, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed US, European and Arab officials, that the UAE in January arranged secret talks between Erik Prince, the founder of notorious private US military firm Blackwater, and “a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin.”
According to the paper, the meeting at the Seychelles was organized to establish a “back-channel line of communication” between the Russian government and the administration of President Trump.
The White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, has rejected the report, calling it “a bunch of flimsy pieces of information all tied together.”
Spicer pointed out that Prince had no role in Trump’s campaign or his transition when the alleged meeting took place on January 11, with this fact not being contested by Washington Post.
The paper “can’t identify the other individuals” except the Blackwater founder, who participated in the talks, he added.
“Apparently, he [Prince] knows somebody, who knew somebody, who knew a guy in the UAE, who also knew a guy in Russia,” Spicer said, describing the article.
He also added that the authorities at the Seychelles said that they have no records of such meeting taking place and even of Prince visiting the islands.
Spicer believes the paper linked the Blackwater founder to the story only due to the fact that his sister, Betsy DeVos, was on the Trump team as Education Secretary.
When the journalist asked the White House spokesman to acknowledge that the Washington Post report may be potentially problematic for the Trump administration, he categorically replied: “No.”
Reports about the alleged “Russia ties” of the Trump administration have been consistently used by Trump’s Democratic Party opponents, who also allege that Russia-backed hackers got into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) email server to influence the election in favor of the Republicans. None of the allegations of Moscow’s involvement in the 2016 US presidential elections or those of Trump having an established connection with Vladimir Putin’s government have so far been backed by evidence.