WASHINGTON — The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee made criminal referrals of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Erik Prince and Sam Clovis to federal prosecutors in 2019, passing along their suspicions that the men may have misled the committee during their testimony, an official familiar with the matter told NBC News.
The official confirmed reports in the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, which reported on the matter last week. A criminal referral to the Justice Department means Congress believes a matter warrants investigation for potential violation of the law.
The committee detailed its concerns in a letter to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., in June 2019, the official said.
The Post reported that the letter was divided into two sections. One named those suspected of making false statements, The Post said: Bannon; Clovis, a co-chair of the Trump campaign in 2016; and Prince, a private security contractor.
A second section raised concerns about the testimony of other witnesses, including Trump Jr. and Kushner, whose statements were contradicted by Trump campaign aide Richard Gates, although it did not pointedly make a false-statements allegation, The Post reported.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the committee questioned whether Bannon lied about his interactions and conversations with Prince about a meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and a top Russian official. Prince told special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors that he briefed Bannon on the January 2017 meeting, but Bannon said the conversation never happened.
A lawyer for Prince told The Post that if there was such a referral, it did not appear to have resulted in an investigation. There has been no public indication of any investigation.
Lawyers for Trump Jr., Kushner, Bannon and Clovis have previously denied that their clients misled the committee.