Former Blackwater head to meet with House intel panel

Former Blackwater head to meet with House intel panel
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The former head of the private security contractor Blackwater is set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week as part of the panel's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.

Erik Prince, who is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosMueller investigation witness pleads guilty to child sex crime charges Proposed changes to Title IX will not solve the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses US officials say Erik Prince may have violated Venezuela sanctions: report MORE, will meet with the committee in an "Open Hearing in a Closed Space" on Nov. 30, the panel announced this week.

The Washington Post reported in April that the United Arab Emirates arranged a meeting between Prince and a Russian close to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the weeks before President Trump's inauguration.

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The purpose of that meeting was to reportedly establish backchannel communications between then-President-elect Trump and the Russian government, according to the newspaper.

The House Intelligence Committee is one of three congressional panels looking into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. 

Prince, a former Navy SEAL, established Blackwater in 1997. The security contractor came under fire in 2007 after company officials were charged and later convicted of killing 14 Iraqi civilians.

The New York Times reported last month that former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has encouraged Prince to mount a Senate bid in Wyoming to challenge Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Green groups raise alarms about alleged Pentagon incineration of 'forever chemicals' House passes sweeping bill to target spread of toxic 'forever chemicals' MORE (R-Wyo.) in 2018.