WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The FBI has declined to comment on, and the White House has denied, a bombshell report that the brother of a Trump administration cabinet member arranged a secret meeting to set up a back channel line of communication between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin.
Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor who is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy Devos, allegedly met with an associate of Putin nine days before Trump took office, according to a Washington Post report.
The United Arab Emirates reportedly arranged the meeting which took place in the Seychelles Islands.
The report broke as the FBI and two congressional committees continue to investigate whether Trump campaign aides coordinated with Russia to interfere with the presidential election.
“The bottom line is if there were any contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian intelligence services that were inappropriate, I want to find out about it and I want the whole world to know about it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC.
The White House has said it wasn’t aware of any meetings involving Prince.
CBS News has confirmed that Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor, asked for names of the Trump team to be revealed after seeing them referenced in intelligence briefs. That was a departure from the norm, U.S. civilian identities are generally concealed.
“If some transition member was surveilled after the election and unfairly unmasked, I want to get to the bottom of that,” said Graham.
Rice had the authority to request the names be unmasked but sources deny the Trump administration claim that she wanted them distributed throughout the intelligence community.
Prince is no stranger to headlines. He founded Blackwater Security which was involved in the massacre of dozens of Iraqi’s in Baghdad on September 16, 2007. Four Blackwater security personnel were convicted in the shootings.