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 DeVosBetsy DeVosMcAuliffe rolls out new ad hitting back at Youngkin on education Biden DOJ tries to shield DeVos from deposition in lawsuit over student loans The long con targeting student survivors of sexual assault 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 TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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