Democrats have been frustrated with the apparently slow pace of the House of Representatives’ investigative hearings. A number of House committees have undertaken the hearings and made an overwhelming number of requests for documents and personnel from the White House. Yet, Donald Trump’s White House has tried to block them at every turn. All that is about to change.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) has referred the founder of the mercenary firm Blackwater and brother to former secretary of education Betsy DeVos, Erik Prince, to the Department of Justice (DOJ). Schiff alleged that Prince lied to Congress when he testified before the Intelligence Committee in 2017, according to The Washington Post:
‘I do believe that there is very strong evidence that he willingly mislead the committee and made false statements to the committee, and later today we’re going to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department.’
‘I think the evidence is so weighty that the Justice Department needs to consider this. We know from the Mueller report that that was not a chance meeting…We know that there were communications after he returned. He was also asked whether he was attempting to establish a back channel for the Trump transition or campaign, which he also denied and it is clear from the Mueller report that that was false and misleading.’
The Intelligence Committee chair added:
‘So, in very material ways, I think the evidence strongly suggests that he willingly misled our committee and the Justice Department needs to consider whether it can make a prosecutable case.’
If a person lies to Congress, even if not under oath, that is an illegal false statement or perjury. A perjury charge can land a person in prison for up to five years.
Prince is a longtime heavyweight Trump supporter. When POTUS first took office, his wealthy friend asked to come to the White House to discuss a private military. Reports said that the meeting never occurred, but the idea of a secret private Trump military was chilling.
Prince appeared arrogant when he gave his testimony before Congress. He and DeVos are the inheritors of the Amway fortune. He testified that he just accidentally ran into a Russian named Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund with close ties to President Vladimir Putin, when he was at the remote Seychelles islands. They are located in the Indian Ocean thousands of miles east of Kenya and north of Madagascar.
However, special counsel Robert Mueller’s report indicated that Prince met with an international consultant George Nader in early 2017. The consultant brokered the meeting with the former Blackwater owner at the request of the Russians. Clearly, this was no chance encounter. Nader told Mueller:
‘(The Russians were) looking to build a link with the incoming Trump Administration.’
Adam Schiff: “There is very strong evidence that [Erik Prince] willingly misled the committee and made false statements to the committee and later today we’ll be making a criminal referral to the Justice Department.” pic.twitter.com/FbZptiUodM
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 30, 2019