Erik Prince—Trump supporter, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and founder of the mercenary group Blackwater—is to be the subject of a criminal referral from the House over perjury committed in his testimony concerning the Russia investigation.
The Washington Post reports that, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Prince’s lies to his committee were “so weighty” that they needed to be dealt with by the Department of Justice. During the campaign and the transition period, Prince took a number of actions in an attempt to help Trump—and the difference between what the special counsel’s report records about Prince’s activities, and what Prince admitted before Congress, is stark.
According to the Mueller report, Prince was a “trusted associate” of Trump who frequently visited Trump’s campaign headquarters and worked with the campaign on a number of occasions. Prince put up his own money to investigate a claim that someone had found the “missing Clinton emails” and obtain them for Trump—money that was never reported as a campaign contribution. With the help of fellow Trump campaign adviser, and child porn peddler, George Nader, Prince arranged a meeting in the Seychelles islands to meet with Russian financier Kirill Dmitriev. Prince apparently discussed this meeting in advance with multiple members of the Trump campaign, and informed Dmitriev that he was there to represent “the New Team” at the request of Steve Bannon. At the meeting, he discussed Trump’s policies and pressed Dmitriev over military issues. When he returned to the United States, Prince debriefed with Steve Bannon who, Prince told Dmitriev, he had been representing at the meeting. But in his congressional testimony, Prince denied that he had traveled to the Seychelles for the Trump campaign, claimed that his meeting with Dmitriev was “chance,” and denied that they had discussed anything of substance.
Despite Prince’s testimony that he visited with Bannon, told him about the trip, discussed Dmitriev’s background, and provided contact information, Bannon has denied that the conversation ever took place. Which suggests that Prince might not be the only one who needs a criminal referral over this issue. Prince originally testified in a closed-door hearing, but his testimony has been made public. Speaking to the House, Prince claimed to have only met Dmitriev for “30 minutes” in the hotel bar, where they talked about World War II. Prince also denied that he knew Dmitriev’s background, and that he was there to represent Trump.