House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) continues to make it clear that he is not playing games with the Biden administration. On Tuesday, the chairman sent letters to Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and Attorney General Merrick Garland to share his concerns regarding the stunning revelations that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office had met with White House officials just weeks before Smith indicted Donald Trump. The former and potentially future president is likely to be President Joe Biden’s opponent for the 2024 election.
The letters were first shared with The New York Post, which had received an exclusive about the meetings between Jay Bratt of the special counsel team, and Caroline Saba, deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office on May 31, 2023. FBI Agent Danielle Ray joined as well. Trump was indicted on June 8, in this instance for his handling of classified documents.
“This new information raises serious concerns regarding the potential for a coordinated effort between the Department and the White House to investigate and prosecute President Biden’s political opponents,” Jordan’s letter to both Zients and Garland notes early on with regards to that report from the Post.
Not helping the situation is that the letters to both men note that the committee has “previously raised concerns about Mr. Bratt’s involvement in this matter, which you have declined to address to date.” Concerns about, as the letters lay out, mentioning:
Mr. Bratt is alleged to have improperly pressured a lawyer representing an employee of President Trump to induce the lawyer’s client to cooperate with the Department’s prosecution. Mr. Bratt allegedly commented to the lawyer that he did not think the lawyer was a ‘Trump guy’ and that ‘he would do the right thing.’ Mr. Bratt referenced the lawyer’s application for a judgeship on the D.C. Superior Court and implied that the application would be received more favorably if his client cooperated with the prosecution of President Trump.
If the name and incident sound familiar, Matt had covered earlier this month how Bratt was supposedly back in June pressuring a lawyer and his client, Walt Nauta, to cooperate. Nauta was a valet at Mar-a-Lago.
“These facts reinforce the serious concern that Mr. Smith is not running an impartial and unprejudiced investigation and prosecution. The Committee has a significant interest in examining how the Department runs its Special Counsel investigations to inform potential legislative reforms concerning the Department’s Special Counsel practices and operations,” Jordan’s letters note.
It’s worth reminding that the Biden administration and Democrats have tried to get the American people to buy the laughable claims that the DOJ is independent, and not one that has been weaponized or politicized.
Back in April 2022, though, The New York Times had covered how Biden had expressed frustration about the way Garland was handling the investigations of Trump.
“As recently as late last year, Mr. Biden confided to his inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, according to two people familiar with his comments. And while the president has never communicated his frustrations directly to Mr. Garland, he has said privately that he wanted Mr. Garland to act less like a ponderous judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action over the events of Jan. 6,” the report noted.
Not only do Jordan’s letters make requests of Zients and Garland, but the two men are now on notice to “to preserve all existing and future records and materials related to Mr. Bratt’s appointments, meetings, and visits to the White House or Executive Office of the President, and any documents or communications referring or relating to Mr. Bratt’s White House visits.”
The following are due back by September 12, 2023:
1. All documents and communications referring or relating to any appointment, meeting, or other visit by Mr. Bratt to the White House or the Executive Office of the President; and
2. All documents and communications between the Executive Office of the President and the Department of Justice referring or relating to the investigation and/or prosecutions of Special Counsel Jack Smith.
These Tuesday notices come after Jordan, along with House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) sent Garland a letter on Monday.
That Monday letter from the committee chairmen investigating Biden family corruption demands answers by September 11 about U.S. Attorney David Weiss and his special counsel status. Weiss had been designated as special counsel just earlier this month with regards to investigating Hunter Biden for tax and gun charges. The letter raises concerns about the considerable confusion caused by Garland and Weiss over whether Weiss had full authority in bringing charges.