The White House on Tuesday dismissed a Washington Post report detailing an apparent attempt to set up an informal line of communication between President Trump's transition team and Russia.
The Post reported that Blackwater founder Erik Prince met with a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin in early January on the Seychelles islands in order to create the back channel.
“Respectfully, I would call it flimsy,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, criticizing the story as “a bunch of flimsy pieces of information all tied together to create a sensational” narrative.
Spicer said that Prince, who donated to the Trump campaign and is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is someone who “admittedly” had “no formal role in the transition.”
The Post reported that Prince presented himself as an unofficial envoy from Trump’s team.
The story fueled ongoing scrutiny of Trump associates’ ties to Moscow, which are currently under investigation by the FBI and congressional committees.