Senate intel leaders said Trump associates may have presented misleading testimony during Russia probe: report

Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly told federal prosecutors last year that they believed President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE’s family and associates may have presented misleading testimony during the panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Among those suspected of presenting misleading information are the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law and White House adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump creates federal council on global tree planting initiative | Green group pushes for answers on delayed climate report | Carbon dioxide emissions may not surpass 2019 levels until 2027: analysis Trump creates federal government council on global tree planting initiative Kardashian West uses star power to pressure US on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict MORE, unidentified sources familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. Trump Jr.'s and Kushner's accounts of a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign reportedly conflicted with the testimony of former deputy campaign chairman Rick GatesRick GatesSunday shows preview: Trump COVID-19 diagnosis rocks Washington, 2020 election The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association -Trump enters debate week after NYT obtains his tax returns Trump suggested Ivanka as his 2016 running mate: book MORE

The committee also reportedly accused the president’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, former campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis and private security contractor Erik Prince of lying to Congress, which potentially carries a felony charge.


The concerns were detailed in a letter sent by the committee in June 2019 to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., according to a copy obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

It’s unclear if the Department of Justice (DOJ) took any action on the referrals, which are generally tips from Congress about potential criminal activity.

A spokesperson for Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOwners of meatpacker JBS to pay 0M fine over foreign bribery charges Questions raised about conflicts of interest around Biden son-in-law America needs an industrial policy — now more than ever MORE (R-Fla.), the acting chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Hill that the panel would not discuss the referrals.

“And those who in order to score cheap political points are speculating on or claim to know the identities of those referred are committing a grotesque injustice,” the spokesperson said.

The DOJ did not return a request for comments from The Hill.


The Senate Intelligence Committee engaged in an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election for more than three years. Like former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE, the panel concluded that the Kremlin mounted a sophisticated effort to boost President Trump and harm Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLate night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study 10 steps toward better presidential debating Continuity is (mostly) on the menu for government contracting in the next administration MORE’s candidacy during the lead-up to the 2016 election.

While other investigations into Russia interference were marred by political disputes, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe has remained largely bipartisan. The panel announced earlier this month that it had voted to adopt its fifth and final report on its investigation.

Three officials told the Post that the committee referred several individuals to the Justice Department amid its investigation because of inconsistencies in their answers. Former Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrAs Trump downplayed the virus publicly, memo based on private briefings sparked stock sell-offs: NYT Hillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns Bipartisan representatives demand answers on expired surveillance programs MORE (R-N.C.) and ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTrump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes Hillicon Valley: Twitter tightens rules before election | Intelligence chief briefed lawmakers on foreign influence threats | Democrats launch inquiry into Pentagon's moves on a national 5G network Senate Democrat raises concerns around Universal Health Services breach MORE (D-Va.) reportedly signed off on all of the referrals, some of which were directed to Mueller’s team.

A Senate Intelligence Committee aide told The Hill that referrals were made when lawmakers suspected a crime may have been committed. They are not indictments, the aide said, adding the panel did not know their current status.

One referral letter sent to the Justice Department in 2019 reportedly said that Bannon may have lied to the panel regarding a meeting that Prince had in the Seychelles with an ally of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSafeguarding US elections by sanctioning Russian sovereign debt DOJ: Russian hackers targeted 2018 Olympics, French elections Putin stands with Belarus's dictator — we should stand by its people MORE.


That letter reportedly included sections addressing people suspected of making false statements and a separate one about figures’ testimonies that were contradicted by Gates.

Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksHicks returns to traveling with Trump two weeks after COVID-19 diagnosis Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes Trump should try a little empathy MORE, Trump’s former communications director, and Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump Bruce Ohr retires from DOJ Don't forget: The Trump campaign gave its most sensitive data to a Russian spy MORE, President Trump’s ex-campaign chairman, were listed in the second section in addition to Trump Jr. and Kushner, according to the Post. Trump Jr. and other campaign associates came under scrutiny over their involvement in a Manhattan Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging info on Clinton. 

“We are fully confident in the testimony and information provided by Donald J. Trump, Jr.,” Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s lawyer, told the newspaper. “In our view, this is a non-story.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee interviewed hundreds of people in its probe that stretched for nearly 3 ½ years. Members of the committee said in early August that in the coming days, they will work to “formalize a properly redacted, declassified, publicly releasable version of the Volume 5 report.”

The report's release will conclude the last remaining investigation into Russian election interference. 

--This report was updated on Aug. 17 at 11:21 a.m.