The Washington Post’s national security team just registered another big scoop: Shortly before President Trump’s inauguration, Blackwater founder Erik Prince conducted a secret meeting with a Russian close to Vladimir Putin for the purposes of setting up a back-channel line of communication between the Russian leader and Trump, according to U.S., Arab and European officials.
The White House is already (sort of) denying that it has anything to do with this. “We are not aware of any meetings, and Erik Prince had no role in the transition,” press secretary Sean Spicer said.
But a few things call this denial into question — and make this just the latest of many encounters between a Trump associate and a Russian that looks needlessly suspicions.
The first is that Prince isn’t just some businessman. He was a high-profile Trump supporter who is close to Stephen K. Bannon and just happens to be the brother of Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos. He was also seen at Trump Tower during the transition period and was advising Trump on intelligence and defense issues, according to the Intercept. And he definitely toed the Trump line on Russia and hacking. He’s not just some guy.
The second is that the meeting was conducted in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean — a location that is known to be safe harbor for clandestine meetings. As a top Seychellois official put it so amazingly: “The Seychelles is the kind of place where you can have a good time away from the eyes of the media. That’s even printed in our tourism marketing. But I guess this time you smelled something.” Wow.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE: The Trump team is a smoke machine when it comes to Russia – The Washington Post