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 DeVosThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates 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 campaign buys full page ads in Miami newspapers ahead of Dem debates Trump administration's 'forced diplomacy' with Iran isn't working Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama 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 MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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