Adam Schiff Makes A Criminal Referral For Trump Ally Erik Prince
On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) issued a criminal referral to the Justice Department for Erik Prince. Notably, Prince is one of Donald Trump‘s allies and the founder of a military contracting firm.
Schiff’s referral was based on evidence indicating Prince had lied to Congress. In his letter to Attorney General William Barr, Schiff discussed how Prince was not forthcoming with the House Intelligence Committee, purposely misleading them and impairing their ability to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 election.
Continuing, Schiff explained how Robert Mueller‘s report revealed discrepancies between Prince’s Nov. 2017 testimony before the committee and his interview with the special counsel. Schiff pointed out six discrepancies between Prince’s two accounts, which concern his efforts to set up a back channel between Trump’s transition team and Russia, something Prince denied. One specific incident Schiff cited was Prince’s Jan. 2017 meeting with a Russian banker, who’s reportedly a close associate of Vladimir Putin‘s.
During his 2017 testimony before the committee, Prince asserted that did not hold an “official or, really, unofficial role” within Trump’s team, claiming his presence in Trump’s orbit was mainly relegated to penning unsolicited policy papers, donating money and visiting an odd fundraiser. Then-Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) asked, “So there was no other formal communications or contact with the campaign?” Prince succinctly replied, “Correct.”
“Mr. Prince’s false statements hindered the Committee’s ability to fully understand and examine foreign efforts to undermine our political process and national security, develop appropriate legislative and policy remedies to counter future malign influence operations targeting campaigns and presidential transitions, and inform the American public, as appropriate,” Schiff said to Barr in his letter.
Matthew L. Schwartz, Prince’s lawyer, has rebutted Schiff’s claims, saying his client fully cooperated with Mueller’s investigation. “There is nothing new here for the Department of Justice to consider, nor is there any reason to question the Special Counsel’s decision to credit Mr. Prince and rely on him in drafting its report,” Schwartz said.