Another piece to the Trump-Russia puzzle with was unearthed yesterday when The Washington Post
published a report about Erik Prince — the billionaire and founder of Blackwater, and brother of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos — who reportedly was in the middle of a secret meeting in the Seychelles islands brokered by the United Arab Emirates in early January to establish a backchannel between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
The bombshell report tangles the web of Trump's connections to Russia and Putin.
It should be noted that Prince had no formal role in Trump's campaign nor the transition team, but that doesn't mean that he wasn't in Trump's pocket during the campaign. According to the Post,
Prince donated $250,000 to the Trump campaign and has close ties to Stephen Bannon.
It is not known what Prince and the Russian envoy discussed during the private meeting in Seychelles, but according to U.S., European, and Arab officials, the goal was for the U.S. and Russia to open a line of communication outside of traditional diplomatic channels.
Prince, whose father made a fortune with Michigan-based auto parts supplier Prince Corporation, was a former Navy Seal who founded Blackwater, a company that sent thousands of private military contractors to fight in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Just to give you a clue to how Prince used at Blackwater, here is a excerpt from a 2009 story that Metro Times published
on Prince and his company:
Prince, Betsy's brother, is a former Navy SEAL who co-founded Blackwater back in 1997. Earlier this year, as a group of his employees were slapped with manslaughter charges connected with the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, the company attempted to re-brand itself by changing its name to Xe (pronounced "zee"). Whatever the name, though, Prince and his company have long been the center of controversy. But the new allegations being reported by Scahill are the most explosive yet.
The investigative reporter [Jeremy Scahill] discloses allegations made in two sworn statements submitted in connection with five civil suits brought by Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater "for alleged war crimes and other misconduct." A federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia recently consolidated the cases.
A spokesperson from Prince and Sean Spicer from the White House denied the allegations.