May 22, 2018, 8:21 AM ET

Trump associate could have lied to House Intelligence Committee, Democrat says

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House Democrats could ask the Department of Justice to prosecute Blackwater founder Erik Prince on charges he misled Congress about his relationship with the Trump campaign, amid new reports about foreign efforts to influence the campaign, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Monday In an interview with ABC News.

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Schiff said Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are weighing whether to send criminal referrals to the Justice Department for several witnesses they believe lied in testimony in the panel’s Russia investigation.

“We are in the process of doing our research into how we ought to handle the situation when we’re concerned people testified falsely to the committee,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in an interview to ABC News, adding that criminal referrals could “potentially” be one way Democrats handle the issue.

Prince arranged and attended an August 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., an adviser to the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and an Israeli social media specialist who had an offer to help the Trump campaign, according to a New York Times report confirmed by ABC News.

Two sources familiar with the meeting told ABC News that Prince arranged the Trump Tower huddle just weeks before Election Day. A spokesman for Prince, who is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' brother. declined to comment on the meeting.

Prince, speaking to the committee behind closed doors in November of 2017, told lawmakers he had only met Trump Jr. "at a campaign event" during the election, and “played no official, or, really, unofficial role” with the Trump campaign, according to a transcript released by the committee.

PHOTO: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, takes questions from reporters at the Capitol, May 10, 2018. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, takes questions from reporters at the Capitol, May 10, 2018.

“If the allegations are true that there was this second Trump Tower meeting that Erik Prince participated in, then clearly he wasn’t forthcoming with our committee,” Schiff said.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who led the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, declined to comment on questions about Prince’s testimony and said he wasn’t familiar with reports of the August 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

This isn't the first time Prince's testimony to Congress has been questioned: Previously, special counsel Robert Mueller obtained evidence that Prince's January 2017 meeting with a Russian financier in the Seychelles was more than the casual encounter over drinks he described to lawmakers, sources told ABC News.

Prince told congressional investigators he didn’t travel to the Seychelles “to meet any Russian guy” and testified that his trip was there for a meeting with officials from the United Arab Emirates about future business opportunities.

George Nader, a well-connected Lebanese-American businessman, has told Mueller’s investigators that he set up Prince’s meeting with Kiril Dmitriev, the CEO of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, and briefed Prince on Dmitriev in New York City before Prince traveled to Africa for the meeting, sources familiar with the investigation said.

“If the previous allegations that George Nader set up the meeting in the Seychelles for the purpose of Prince meeting with this Russian banker, if those allegations are true then clearly Prince testified falsely before our committee,” Schiff said.

Republicans have already issued criminal referrals to DOJ for Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey and former British spy Christopher Steele, among others associated with the presidential campaign and Russia probe.

Even if Democrats decide to ask DOJ to prosecute witnesses -- lying to Congress is a federal crime that comes with up to five years in prison -- the department isn’t required to take up a referral. Anyone can make a criminal referral, but the decision to launch an investigation still rests with federal prosecutors.

But the Justice Department has prosecuted people accused of lying to Congress in the past, including former pitcher Roger Clemens and Reagan national security adviser John Poindexter.

Clemens, who was charged with lying to lawmakers in 2008 for claiming he never used performance-enhancing drugs, was acquitted four years later of all charges. Poindexter’s conviction for lying to Congress about elements of the Iran-Contra scandal was overturned by a federal appeals court.

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  • JonInCa

    Lied to Congress?? If they're sending criminal referrals - let's include Clapper, Brennan, Comey, Glen Simpson, etc.

  • inonepeice

    “We are in the process of doing our research into how we ought to handle the situation when we’re concerned people testified falsely to the committee,”
    +++++++++++++++
    If they testified falsely lock them up. It should be pretty simple.

  • ted marks

    WHAT!!!! - Someone from the Trump Administration LIED! - I'm Shocked, What a surprise, How Unusual!!!!!!!!!! Who would have thought.

  • Richard Cardo

    LOCK HIM UP

  • TH

    And another bites, another none bites, another one bites the dust.

  • Truth-B-Me

    What?? People connected to the Trump campaign lied??? Who would ever thought that? Lock them all up now! This is the most corrupt administration in the history of America and their leader is a pathological liar and an embarrassment around the world!

  • Seabreeze Oceana

    I thought the Republicans just announced recently that they put a muzzle on L00ney Nunes and his Trey Gowdy abetting and aiding GOPer Gang of fake conspiracy theorists; bribing the goon to demand an investigation into the team investigating him (who is obviously guilty of all charges) -- the Trump Crime Syndicate is soon to be on trial for 24-7 lies, propaganda, deceit, obstruction of justice many times over, Putin/Trump cartel of collusion, money laundering for decades, Russian/American/Foreign mob ties holding spy meetings for decades in America and Russia and elsewhere, giving/trading classified information to the enemy in the oval office and making fun of our fine Director of the FBI he snarkily told his dictators-in-corruption he fired (Comey nut job), no that's you moron and idiot (from the mouths of your cesspool aides and dwellers themselves who know) illegal sanctioned bank loans in the Millions, foreign private Cohen $M$ pay to play schemes and business set ups along with his prostitutes and PQ's which is all morally illegal (emoluments clause), sending to Seychilles his other crime boss, Eric Prince, having $B$ meetings for greedy self-interests and lifting of sanctions, and many others that only Mr. Mueller knows - YIKES !? Wow, so many reasons for impeachment, Hey GOP -- How did this maniacal criminal even get vetted to become a POTUS candidate - he's zero morality and presidential in every sense of the word. There you are -- Every reason to be investigating the entire White House - it's not nobody in the White House was involved in Russia; it's EVERYBODY in the White House of Corruption is involved in the Russian Roulette game down to Hopeless Hicks at the admin. level desk, who refused to answer questions before the justice department & intel committees or she had a really bad memory. Any other American would be sitting in prison until she/he does recall the truth. WTH?? Lastly, HELP -- When are they coming in to take this unstable, unfit, vile and vulgar mentally disturbed hallucinatory liar and dangerous old fool away in a nice orange straight jacket or better, handcuffs. STOP the Trump madness.

  • WhosVoice

    Of course Prince lied! Did anyone expect him to say he was in charge of setting up back channels with foreign governments so they could funnel money to #TeamTreason?

  • Mansa_Musa

    So you are "thinking" about referring someone that lies before congress to be prosecuted? What is there to think about? The man knew what was true, told you a lie and isn't that obstruction? Why is that not contempt of congress? Adam, I wonder about your boys and girls. Once we hand the keys to the Republic back over to you in November - you need to do more than just "think."

  • jw619

    Trump himself has LIED OVER 2500 TIMES ON THE PUBLIC RECORD . The republican propaganda machine is based on lies its how they get elected . Unfortunately there are a lot of really dumb people who believe their fake news look at FOX

  • my2cents314

    Republicans are just shrugging their shoulders about another lying member of Team Trump. They would have been going Ape S*it if Hillary were in the White House.

    Morality has left the Republican party.

  • Pad

    Every single person associated with trump is dirty. Every one.

  • krussell25

    A better headline would be;
    A Trump Associate May Have Told the Truth

  • FarmFamily

    Being a totally corrupt, dishonest scumbag is pretty much a job requirement to work on Team Trump.

  • scott graham

    So basically you call up everyone you can and ask them every question you can and if they forget anything you charge them with lying to congress?

    Is this about Russia or just costing trump allies time and money and setting everyone up for prosecution for nothing?

    The democrats invented this with Watergate. But then at the end there was actual criminal wrongdoing.

    Here everyone knows there's nothing at the end of the trail.

  • Karl Kastner

    Comey
    (Sung to the tune of "Windy" by the Association)

    Who didn't look at Clintons' foundation
    Do-nations meant for people in need
    Who knew that pay for play was the motive
    Everyone knows it's Comey

    Who acted for the a-ttorney general
    U-surping Lynch's au-thority
    Who called the Clinton emails "a matter"
    Everyone knows it's Comey

    And Comey will em-pha-size
    The truth when he really lies
    And Comey attempts to fly
    Above the law (above the law)
    Above the law (above the law)

    (musical interlude)

    And Comey will em-pha-size
    The truth when he really lies
    And Comey attempts to fly
    Above the law (above the law)
    Above the law (above the law)

    Who supervised on each FISA warrant
    Based on the bogus Steele Dossi-er
    Who vouched for such, a shady in-formant
    Everyone knows it's Comey

    Who trashed the bureau's clean reputation
    Con-spiring with members of DNC
    Who looked the other way for promotion
    Everyone knows it's Comey

    Who's leaking out his class-ified memos
    Claiming that they're, just his di-ary
    Who paved the way for Mueller's appointment
    Everyone knows it's Comey

    Who wrote a book to pay his lawyer's billings
    Coupled with shameless a-ppearance fees
    Who' cashing in on each public moment
    Everyone knows it's Comey

    Who will be charged by In-spector General
    Justice for crimes grand jur-y can see
    Who'll be a snitch(a prison informant)
    Everyone knows it's Comey

  • Kirby

    Someone associated with Trump lied??? That can't be! In the words of Iago, I think I'm going to have a heart attack and die from that surprise.

  • Stephen Bishop

    Getting rid of Trump is the only answer.

  • NuffAlready

    We can only hope. Our only hope is that Mueller is all over this stuff already. How could this investigation possibly see a light at the end of the tunnel when every hour of every day unearths another crime?

    Who does Rudy think he's fooling? Does he think that he is actually able to intimidate Robert Mueller into ending when he wants him too?

  • B-K KnightRider

    WHAT? One of Trump's people lied? Naw, that just isn't possible because of the great example Trump sets. [extreme sarcasm off]

  • Jake the real Jake

    Trump and all are liars!

  • MauiOhana808

    All donnies friends and allies lie!!
    Make America Happy Again!!!
    Thank you Special Prosecutor Mueller, the grand jury and the FBI!!!!!
    Aloha :^D

  • JohnC

    ah gee. Nunes is going to be upset that his friend Prince lied. Well, back to revise his big report.

  • BigRead

    Funny headline: Trump associate lied to committee considering Trump lies with every other breath.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Prince needs to have ALL of his activities here and abroad carefully examined.

  • allworld

    There is certainly a air or corruption with Donald Jr. and just about everyone connected to Trump.
    This is the candidate that was going to "drain the swamp".
    No one is above the law, and the truth matters.

  • TrumpsKlan

    Has even one week gone by without Trump stepping into do do

  • Bill S

    Someone from the dump campaign lied,wow never saw it coming. I would of been surprised if the headline read dump campaign told a truth .

  • Zqueen

    Let me get this straight -- Trump just gave the DOJ/FBI the OK to investigate him? Amazing!

  • TrumpsKlan

    By the time this nightmare ends Republicans are going to find themselves out of a job. History is not going to look kindly on Republicans refusing to stand up and denounce Trump's attack on our democracy

  • FfloydZzepp

    Brad, did that ointment work?

  • Jackee

    BRAD: GIVE ME ATTENTION!!!

  • Jim Enright

    I me it when the trolls become unhinged, a sure sign they are scared.