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Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's controversial nominee as Education Secretary

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Is Blackwater’s Erik Prince the Brother of Betsy DeVos?


Erik Prince, who gained notoriety as head of the security contractor Blackwater, is back in the news as the alleged intermediary between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One interesting twist in the Prince saga, though: His family tree.

Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s controversial nominee as Education Secretary.


DeVos and Prince are the children of an industrialist named Edgar Prince. The Washington Post says her mother has “supported anti-gay marriage efforts in the past” but Besty DeVos has not been “publicly involved” in that issue.

Erik Prince founded Blackwater, the controversial and now defunct security group that, according to The Washington Times, was a “mercenary firm” that “gained infamy during the Iraq War for incidents involving civilian casualties.”

The Washington Post put Prince back in the news on April 3 with a report that the Blackwater founder “held secret Seychelles meeting to establish” a Trump-Putin “back channel.”

Betsy DeVos married into money. Her husband Dick DeVos – who ran unsuccessfully for Michigan’s governor in 2006, is the son of Richard DeVos Sr., the billionaire co-founder of the company Amway. According to Forbes, Richard Devos Sr. is worth $5.1 billion and first sold cleaners door-to-door.

Richard DeVos Sr. owns the Orlando Magic. Born in Michigan and a lifelong resident of that state, according to her website, Betsy DeVos is a graduate of Holland Christian High School and Calvin College, her bio says.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince was part of secret Trump-Russia communication effort, report says

Blackwater founder Erik Prince (pictured in 2007) reportedly attended a meeting to establish back-channel connections between the Trump administration and Russia.

 Controversial Blackwater founder Erik Prince acted as a back-channel go-between for President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a report.

Prince, a major Trump donor who is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, traveled to a remote island in the Indian Ocean in January for discussions with a Putin associate about issues including Iran, the Washington Post said Monday.

Officials said that Prince represented himself as an emissary for then President-elect Trump for the meeting in the Seychelles, though both he and the administration deny it.

“We are not aware of any meetings and Erik Prince had no role in the transition,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the Post.

Most Americans want independent probe into Trump-Russia ties

A spokesman for Prince said that the report was a “complete fabrication” and that “the meeting had nothing to do with President Trump.”

The meeting, which reportedly focused at least in part on trying to change Russia’s relationship with Iran, comes as meetings between those with ties to Trump and Russian officials have come under intense scrutiny.

Two congressional committees and the FBI are investigating alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Trump and his team have been quick to lambast any reporting on the matter as “fake news” and saying that the real story is leaked information.


FBI Director James Comey has said that his agency has been investigating possible connections between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials as part of a broader look into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Michael Flynn did not reveal Russia speaking fees in White House

Beyond his ties to Trump through his fellow Amway fortune heir DeVos, Prince has cultivated contacts both in the U.S. and abroad after founding Blackwater, a private security firm made infamous after killing civilians in Iraq.

He still works in private security, and the New York Times reported in 2011 that he received $529 million to create an army of foreign fighters for the United Arab Emirates.

Washington Post sources that the Seychelles meeting was brokered by the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

The Trump administration said that Prince was not part of the President’s transition team.

The Prince meeting came after Zayed traveled to New York for an unannounced visit in December and met with Trump advisers Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon, the newspaper reported.

Flynn was forced to resign as National Security Adviser in February amid questions about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and the extent to which they discussed the removal of U.S. sanctions on Russia.

It is not known if the meeting delved into other issues besides the Russo-Iranian relationship, a contributing factor to Moscow’s support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The White House has acknowledged that Kislyak also met with Flynn in December alongside Kushner, who has said that he is open to testifying before Senate inquiry looking into alleged Russian election meddling.

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