February 14, 2020

Given his pattern of political interference on behalf of Trump’s associates, Attorney General Bill Barr’s treatment of Erik Prince raises serious questions about preferential treatment for Trump’s allies in Department of Justice investigations. Prince made six-figure contributions to Trump’s election in 2016, and allegedly lied to Congress during the Russia probe, raising serious questions about the scope of the preferential treatment for Trump’s allies in Department of Justice investigations.

Ten months ago, Representative Adam Schiff made a criminal referral to the DOJ Prince’s conduct. In February, the Department of Justice finally responded and indicated that it would review Schiff’s request, with no explanation for the delay. DOJ is reportedly nearing a decision on whether Prince will be charged, with Barr’s personal involvement.

CREW requested DOJ records on Schiff’s investigation on Prince, calendar entries and communications between Bill Barr and Prince, and communications between DOJ, Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Prince. CREW also requested records about potential political interference from the FBI.

In addition to charges related to making false statements to Congress, DOJ is  considering whether Prince violated U.S. export laws. Prince is the co-founder of defense contractor Blackwater and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s brother.

This would not be the first time that Barr treated legal matters of personal interest to Trump preferentially. Barr and top DOJ officials intervened to withdraw a stiff sentencing recommendation against Trump associate Michael Flynn in December 2019, and Roger Stone earlier this month after Trump tweeted that the recommendations were unfair. The requested records will shed light on whether Barr and DOJ’s ten month delay was politically calculated and part of a pattern to appease Trump. If Erik Prince is yet another example of AG Barr circumventing justice to help Trump’s allies, the American people need to know.

Read the requests here and here.

Photo by Miller Center.