U.S. Attorney General William Barr has been consistently protective of President Donald Trump and his allies, and according to Law & Crime reporter Colin Kalmbacher, one of those allies might be Erik Prince — brother of Betsy DeVos (secretary of education in the Trump Administration) and former head of the infamous private security firm Blackwater.
Kalmbacher reports that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is “reportedly in the 11th hour of its decision-making process on whether to charge professional mercenary Erik Prince with the crime of lying to Congress amid the Russia probe in 2017.” Prince’s critics, Kalmbacher notes, allege that he gave false testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 “when discussing his meetings with a Russian banker in the Seychelles Islands” earlier that year. Prince described that meeting as a “chance” encounter and told House Intelligence members that he was not acting on Trump’s behalf, but his critics allege that he was.
One of Prince’s most vocal critics is Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who now chairs the House Intelligence Committee (which was in Republican hands back in 2017 during Prince’s testimony). Schiff alleges that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation demonstrates that Prince made “false statements” that “hindered the Committee’s ability to fully understand and examine foreign efforts to undermine our political process and national security.”
In a letter to Barr, Schiff asserted, “As the (Mueller) Report makes clear, evidence obtained by the special counsel…. differs materially from Mr. Prince’s testimony, under oath, before the Committee on November 30, 2017. The Report reveals that Mr. Prince’s testimony before the Committee was replete with manifest and substantial falsehoods that materially impaired the Committee’s investigation.”
Schiff added, “In particular, Mr. Prince’s testimony about his January 11, 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive officer of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, differs from the (Mueller) Report in (several) material respects.”
But despite Schiff’s allegations against Prince, Kalmbacher reports, the case has “long languished for unclear reasons. And now that prosecutors are getting into position…. to potentially charge Prince, critics of Trump and Barr are largely unconvinced the case will move forward.”
On February 11, Prince critic Harry Litman (a Washington Post writer and former federal prosecutor) tweeted, “Prince plainly lied. We are really getting upriver here.”
Another Prince critic, Dr. Dena Grayson (who ran for Congress as a Democrat) tweeted that the DOJ has been “weighing” charges of lying to Congress against Prince but noted the possibility that “Barr quashes it.”