Campaign for Accountability Asks House Intelligence Committee to Refer Erik Prince to DOJ for Criminal Investigation
Prince’s Misleading Statements in Committee Testimony May Violate False Statements Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8, 2018
Contact: Daniel Stevens, email@example.com, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan government watchdog group, asked the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) to refer Erik Prince to the Department of Justice for an investigation into whether he lied to the committee regarding his meeting with Russian fund manager Kirill Dmitriev.
CfA Executive Director Daniel Stevens said, “Erik Prince’s testimony, never credible on its face, is directly contradicted by numerous press reports. The HPSCI must refer Prince to DOJ for investigation. As there are for lying to the FBI or the Special Prosecutor, there must be severe consequences if, as it appears, Prince lied to Congress.”
On March 6, the New York Times reported that United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan convened a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles to bring together Dmitriev, a banker close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Prince, representing the Trump transition. Businessman George Nader, who once consulted for Prince’s former company, Blackwater, apparently introduced Prince to Dmitriev.
Prince’s attendance at the Seychelles meeting was first reported by the Washington Post. As a result, Prince was asked to testify before the HPSCI, which he did on November 30, 2017.
In November, Prince testified under oath and was warned before he began that lying could be a criminal violation. Nevertheless, Prince appears to have made numerous false statements. He claimed that his meeting with Dmitriev was incidental to the true purpose of his visit: developing business with the U.A.E. He claimed someone in the crown prince’s entourage, likely one of his brothers, simply suggested Prince meet with Dmitriev while he was there, but that no one introduced the two. Rather, he claims, he merely wandered to the bar and found Dmitriev on his own, identifying him after Googling his photograph.
Prince also claims he had no official or unofficial role in the Trump campaign or transition, yet admits to meetings in Trump Tower, writing policy papers, numerous conversations with Steve Bannon, and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign.
18 U.S.C. § 1001 makes it a federal crime, punishable by up to five years imprisonment, to make a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in response to government investigations, including those of congressional committees.
Other witnesses in the Russia investigation, including Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Rick Gates have pleaded guilty to making false statements. It is unknown whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller has spoken with Prince.
Stevens continued, “If, as President Trump claims, there was no collusion, then there is no reason for so many people who worked to install Trump in the White House to lie to those investigating the election. Americans deserve to know the whole truth about Russian efforts to subvert our democracy. Let the chips fall where they may.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.