Billionaire brother of Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is Erik Prince. Erik not only represents his family as one of many hard-right, social-conservative activists who have poured millions and millions into organizations and people who would push a far-right agenda. He also is the founder of Blackwater – a company the United States has hired in an attempt to privatize some of the war in Iraq. They represent how people can make money by turning war into a for-profit enterprise
You might recall Blackwater – several contractors were convicted of killing seventeen unarmed Iraqi civilians. The company was forced to rebrand itself several times, attempting to created much-needed distance from the typical Blackwater Google search. Prince moved his family to an obscure place, and Erik largely fell out of the public’s mind.
That’s when things got really interesting, Maddow explains. You see, Prince was far from public view, but he was, however, strongly in the sights of Team Trump. Right before the election, Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News published a bombshell story, in which Erik Prince is credited with saying the police were on the verge of arresting Hillary Clinton as a complicit figure in a money laundering/child-sex ring. Prince also claimed that the Obama Justice Department was working hard to cover up the story, but according to Prince’s sources, arrests were “imminent.”
The accusations were so severe, that the report claimed that Hillary frequented a secret “sex island with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.” It further suggested that Hillary was guilty of murder.
Maddow starts putting the pieces together.
- Prince is Betsy DeVos’s brother.
- Prince gave over $100,000 to a super PAC supporting the Trump campaign.
- Now Bloomberg news reports Prince was a significant adviser to Trump during the transition.
Bloomberg goes on to describe that “Prince met several times with top aides as the incoming government took shape.” Among other things, Prince was charged with identifying “possible government appointees with people in the private sector.” And Prince used back door entrances to gain access to Trump’s properties in an attempt to keep the meetings clandestine. Among these meetings were a conversation with Kellyanne Conway, during which the two discussed sweeping changes to the U.S. intelligence community.
So why is this important? First of all, the entire Trump Administration has been flatly denying for weeks that they had any communication at all with Erik Prince – that he had nothing to do with any part of the campaign, transition, or administration, and that he had no ties to any member of the Trump Administration.
Things get even more sinister when you combine this information with a Washington Post story that reports Prince had two days of secret meetings on a remote island – with a Russian emissary – “to establish Trump-Putin back channel.” The Post story cites a Russian official close to Putin, who said Prince “presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump.” The story goes on to report that these meetings are now part of the ongoing investigation into ties between Trump and Putin.