Erik Prince downplays Seychelles meeting as 'much ado about nothing'

Blackwater founder Erik Prince on Wednesday downplayed a January 2017 meeting in Seychelles with a United Arab Emirates official and a Russian banker, calling it "much ado about nothing." 

"People can read my congressional testimony. I was there for a couple of hours. I was there to meet with some Emiratis, and like I said, they said I should meet this Russian guy," Prince told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"It lasted about as long as a beer."

Prince, who is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosTrump aides pushed for states' ability to block migrant kids from enrolling in public schools: report Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid Buttigieg to Detroit audience: Don't judge Indiana by Pence and we won't judge Michigan by DeVos MORE, reportedly met with Kirill Dmitriev, a wealthy Russian banker with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the de facto ruler of the UAE, prior to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE's inauguration in January 2017. 

Both Prince and the Trump administration have denied he was representing the U.S. or Trump during the meeting. 

Prince said earlier this year that the meeting was "incidental" and denied the existence of any backchannel negotiations with Russia. 

Reports surfaced earlier this year that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE, who is probing Russian election interference, was looking into a series of 2017 meetings in Seychelles, including Prince's. 

Prince said he has cooperated with Mueller's probe. 

"I've talked to the Mueller people, and I haven't heard from them for months," he told Hill.TV. 

— Julia Manchester