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Erik Prince's secret Seychelles trip was actually an embarrassing failure, according to the Mueller report
Erik Prince — the former Navy SEAL, Blackwater founder, and self-styled savior of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan — apparently used his secretive meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian moneyman linked to President Vladimir Putin to argue against Moscow's military involvement in Libya.
According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report into Trump-Russia collusion released Thursday, businessman George Nader arranged for Prince to meet with Kirill Dmitriev, the Putin-connected head of a the Russian Direct Investment Fund, telling the former that that "had been pushing Nader to introduce him to someone from the incoming Administration."
Despite this enthusiasm for making inroads with the nascent Trump administration, Dmitriev was apparently "not enthusiastic" about meeting with Prince until Nader reassured him otherwise by pointing out that hey, his sister will be Secretary of Education soon!
"This guy [Prince] is designated by Steve [Bannon] to meet you!," Nader told Prince in a text message on Jan. 9, 2017, less than two weeks before Trump's. "I know him and he is very very well connected and trusted by the New Team. His sister [Betsy Devos] is now a Minister of Education."
Dmitriev and Prince met in the Seychelles two days later on Jan. 11. according to the Mueller report, the meeting mostly consisted of Prince talking himself up, telling Dmitriev that he "provided policy papers to Bannon ... [and] that he would inform Bannon about his meeting with Dmitriev."
That's where things get tense:
Prince was probably referring to the live-fire exercise conducted by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its battle group off the Libyan coast and the subsequent visit from eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar. These aren't the greatest events, but the Russian Ministry of Defense had previously announced it was recalling the Kuznetsov battle group from the Mediterranean Sea after negotiating a temporary ceasefire deal in Syria with Iran and Turkey, not retasking to carrier to Libya.
It seems like Prince really leaned into his own bluster — and Dmitriev, uh, did not receive Prince's bravado well at all:
That Seychelles meeting had been previously described by U.S. officials as "an apparent effort to establish a backchannel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump." But not only did Prince achieve nothing, but nobody back home on Team Trump seemed to care.
When Prince returned from the Seychelles on Jan. 12, he "contacted Bannon's personal assistant to set up a meeting for the following week," according to the Mueller report. "Several days later, Prince messaged her again asking about Bannon's schedule."
When he finally met with Bannon, the incoming White House advisor "instructed Prince not to follow up with Dmitriev, and Prince had the impression that the issue was not a priority for Bannon," according to the Mueller report. "Prince related that Bannon did not appear angry, just relatively uninterested."
When asked about Prince's Seychelles meeting Bannon the Office of the Special Counsel that "he never discussed with Prince anything regarding Dmitriev, RDIF, or any meetings with Russian individuals or people associated with Putin," according to the Mueller report. "He also stated that had Prince mentioned such a meeting, Bannon would have remembered it, and Bannon would have objected to such a meeting having taken place."
Honestly, it sounds like Bannon straight up didn't remember because he didn't care. Either way, Prince was recently caught attempting to cover up what appears to be a lie in his earlier testimony before Congress. So much for Prince being a "very very well connected and trusted by the New Team."
Just before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning 78 years ago, Lauren Bruner was preparing for church services and a date that would follow with a girl he'd met outside his Navy base.
The 21-year-old sailor was stationed as a fire controlman aboard the U.S. battleship USS Arizona, overseeing the vessel's .50-caliber guns.
Then alarms rang out. A Japanese plane had bombed the ship in a surprise attack.
It took only nine minutes for the Arizona to sink after the first bomb hit. Bruner was struck by gunfire while trying to flee the inferno that consumed the ship, the second-to-last man to escape the explosion that killed 1,177, including his best friend; 335 survived.
More than 70% of Bruner's body was burned. He was hospitalized for weeks.
Now, nearly eight decades after that fateful day, Bruner's ashes will be delivered to the sea that cradled his fallen comrades, stored in an urn inside the battleship's wreckage.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Joshua Kaleb Watson has been identified as one of the victims of a shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, CBS News reported.
The 23-year-old Alabama native and Naval Academy graduate was named to the Academy's prestigious Commandant's and Dean's lists, and also competed on the rifle team, Alabama's WTVY reported.
NAS Pensacola shooter railed against the US and quoted Osama bin Laden online hours before the attack
PENSACOLA, Fla. (Reuters) - The Saudi airman accused of killing three people at a U.S. Navy base in Florida appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars and quoted slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media hours before the shooting spree, according to a group that monitors online extremism.
Federal investigators have not disclosed any motive behind the attack, which unfolded at dawn on Friday when the Saudi national is said to have began firing a handgun inside a classroom at the Naval Air Station Pensacola.
NAS Pensacola shooter reportedly hosted a 'dinner party' to watch mass shooting videos the week before the attack
The Saudi military officer who shot and killed 3 people at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday reportedly hosted a "dinner party" the week before the attack "to watch videos of mass shootings," the Associated Press reports, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
The Minnesota National Guard has released the names of the three soldiers killed in Thursday's helicopter crash.