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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told the Washington Post on Tuesday that his committee will make a criminal referral for informal Trump campaign adviser Erik Prince to the Justice Department.

The big picture: "The evidence strongly suggests that he misled our committee," Schiff told the Post's Robert Costa. Schiff said that whether or not the Justice Department will choose to prosecute Prince remains unclear, as the evidence that shows Prince misled the committee may have come in his proffer sessions with special counsel Robert Mueller — which may protect him from charges.

  • Schiff pointed to Prince's infamous meeting in the Seychelles in January 2017 with a Russian official close to Vladimir Putin as one example of possible perjury. Prince told the committee that it was a chance meeting, but the Mueller report revealed communications showing that it was, in fact, planned.
  • During the 2016 campaign, Prince — who is the founder of private military company Blackwater and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — also met with Donald Trump Jr., United Arab Emirates emissary George Nader and Israeli social media manipulation specialist Joel Zamel at Trump Tower. Earlier this month, Schiff said on "Meet the Press" that Prince did not tell the committee about the meeting, despite claiming to Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hasan that he had done so.

Schiff added that the committee may bring former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in for further questioning, as he "refused to answer almost all of our questions."

  • "When we asked whether he was asserting some privilege, he merely said he was not answering questions because the White House told him not to," Schiff said. "The communications between Mr. Prince and Mr. Bannon has apparently fled their devices," he added.
  • "When we pressed to hold him in contempt, the GOP members of our committee would not go forward."

A lawyer for Erik Prince told Axios in a statement:

"There is no new evidence here.  Erik Prince’s House testimony has been public for months, including at all times that Mr. Prince met with the Special Counsel’s Office.  Mr. Prince cooperated completely with the Special Counsel’s investigation, as its report demonstrates.  There is nothing new here for the Department of Justice to consider, nor is there any reason to question the Special Counsel’s decision to credit Mr. Prince and rely on him in drafting its report."

Go deeper ... Adam Schiff: Erik Prince did not disclose 2016 Trump Tower meeting during testimony

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.

4 hours ago - World

Hong Kong holds first "patriots only" elections

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a news conference last Monday. Photo: Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images

Hong Kong's elections to choose the city's Election Committee members opened to a select group of voters on Sunday, under a new "patriots only" system imposed by China's government.

Why it matters: All candidates running to be members of the electoral college have been "vetted" by Beijing, per Reuters. They will go on to choose the Asian financial hub's next leader, approved by China's government, and some of its legislature.

6 hours ago - World

Israeli forces capture final 2 escaped Palestinian prisoners

An Israeli security forces member on Saturday stands guard at the Gilboa prison in northern Israel, from where the six inmates escaped. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli forces captured the two remaining Palestinian prisoners who tunneled their way out of an Israeli maximum-security prison with four others in a "Shawshank Redemption"-style escape, authorities announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The escape sparked a massive manhunt and turned the prisoners into heroes in the West Bank and Gaza, with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza threatening an escalation if they were harmed, per Axios' Barak Ravid.