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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) announced on Thursday that his panel is investigating alleged prosecutorial misconduct in special counsel Jack Smith’s documents case against former President Donald Trump and two of his aides.
A letter sent to Smith on Thursday cites media reports about allegations that Jay Bratt, a senior prosecutor involved in the special counsel’s inquiry, used “abusive” tactics. Jordan specifically raised concerns about Bratt allegedly bringing up a judgeship application in an attempt to improperly pressure a lawyer for Trump’s associate and co-defendant Walter Nauta. In addition, the chairman noted that Bratt later filed a motion alleging conflicts of interest involving the same lawyer, Stanley Woodward.
“The Department’s mission is to ensure impartial justice by upholding the rule of law, requiring all Department employees — including Mr. Bratt — to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct,” Jordan wrote. “Mr. Bratt’s attempt to bully Mr. Nauta in cooperating, first by extorting his attorney and then by alleging a conflict of interest that precludes his attorney from the case, seriously calls into question your team and your ability to remain impartial and uphold the Department’s mission.”
The chairman demanded various documents and records related to Woodward, his representation of Nauta and others, as well as his application to fill a vacancy on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. A deadline of 5 p.m. on September 21 was given.
Peter Carr, a spokesperson for the special counsel, told The Daily Wire that Smith’s team declined to comment when asked about the letter.
Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, reacted to the letter by posting to X, “Prosecutorial misconduct at the heart of the Biden DOJ abuse of Trump.” Mike Davis, founder of the Article III Project and former chief counsel for nominations to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), cheered Jordan on, saying, “End [President Joe] Biden’s lawfare and blatant election interference.”
National security attorney Bradley Moss took a different point of view. “There is a real and serious need for congressional committees to conduct oversight of DOJ,” Moss said. “This is not that. It’s a blatant political stunt designed only to protect the former president. The tactics allegedly employed are the type ‘law and order’ conservatives normally love.”
Jordan’s new letter follows a demand last month for the Biden administration to provide details about Bratt meeting with White House officials in the weeks leading up to Trump getting indicted. The chairman set a deadline of September 12 for that matter.
Trump and Nauta have been charged on claims including that they schemed to hide classified documents from federal authorities and conspired to obstruct justice. They have pleaded not guilty, as has Carlos De Oliveira, a property manager at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida who was added as a co-defendant in a superseding indictment.
Woodward revealed in a court filing that his former client, Mar-a-Lago IT worker Yuscil Taveras, agreed to testify in the case in exchange for not being prosecuted, CNN reported on Wednesday. The report also said Woodward claimed in the filing that he “played no role” in the cooperation and asked the judge not to allow Taveras to testify in any future trial.
Trump faces charges in three other matters, including a 2020 election case also brought by Smith. He has broadly denied any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a “witch hunt” as he runs a 2024 campaign for another term in the White House. The trial in Smith’s documents case is set to begin on May 20 in Florida.