House GOP fires off first subpoena in probe of Trump indictment
Thursday’s subpoena by the House GOP to Alvin Bragg, Manhattan District Attorney, was its first. This escalated a standoff regarding former President Donald Trump’s indictment.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R.Ohio), summons Mark Pomerantz (a former county special assistant District Attorney) to appear behind closed doors to take a deposition on April 20. According to a copy the subpoena that was viewed by POLITICO,
Jordan wrote a separate letter addressed to Pomerantz, which accompanied the subpoena. It stated that “Based on your unique position as a special assistant District Attorney leading the investigation into Trump’s finances”, he was uniquely placed to provide relevant and necessary information to inform the Committee’s oversight and possible legislative reforms.”
It is not common for Congress to subpoena an individual line prosecutor. Jordan claims that Bragg’s office instructed Pomerantz to refrain from cooperating with oversight.
Bragg’s office issued a vehement rebuke to the subpoena. It called it the latest attempt by House Republicans to meddle in the affairs of New York, by “intruding upon the sovereignty of New York by interfering with an ongoing criminal matter at state court.”
“The House GOP continues its attempt to undermine an active investigation into a New York criminal case and an ongoing New York criminal case by waging an unprecedented campaign to intimidate and harass. Bragg’s office stated that repeated attempts to weaken local and state law enforcement actions is an abuse of power, and that it will not deter our duty to uphold law.”
Pomerantz was reached by email and declined to answer Jordan’s subpoena. He said only, “No comment.”
Pomerantz also wrote a book that included details from the New York investigation into Trump’s organization and Trump himself. This could make it more difficult to resist the subpoena.
Jan. 6’s select committee made a similar argument against Mark Meadows, former White House chief staff officer. They argued that Meadows waived any privileges by publishing a book detailing some of their interactions with the former President. Meadows was later found in contempt by Congress for refusing testify. However, the Justice Department declined prosecution.
Peter Navarro, a Jan. 6 witness who wrote a book and then refused to appear before the committee, is being tried for contempt of Congress.
Jordan stated to Pomerantz, “You have no basis for declining to testify to matters before the Committee about matters that you have already discussed with your book and/or on prime-time television programs with an audience of millions of viewers, including on any purported duty or confidentiality interest.”
This subpoena comes days after Trump appeared before a New York court and pled not guilty on 34 counts of “falsifying corporate records.” The accusation states that Trump tried to cover up and conceal damaging allegations regarding an extramarital affair, by falsifying company records.
It comes as Republicans consider their next steps in the probe into Bragg’s office.
Multiple rounds of volleys have been returned by Bragg’s general counsel Leslie Dubeck asking for testimony and official documents. Dubeck wrote to Jordan, Oversight Chairman James Comer (R.Ky.), and Administration Chair Bryan Steil(R.Wis.) last Wednesday asking for a list of questions that they would like to ask Bragg. Also, he asked what documents they believe they could obtain that would not reveal private details.
Dubeck, while encouraging Republicans to negotiate before any potential subpoenas of Bragg, also provided a blistering criticism of the investigation in her email, calling their accusations about political persecution “baseless” and “inflammatory.”
She said, “We urge that you refrain from making inflamatory accusations and withdraw your request for information. Let the criminal justice process proceed freely without any unlawful interference.”
Bragg’s office argued that the probe into Trump’s probe by the DA is not motivated by any “legitimate legislative purpose”. Jordan argues that the investigation is tied to national implications of prosecuting an ex-president — from conflicts between federal and state law to the Secret Service’s role in protecting an ex president who is also a criminal defendant.
Dubeck’s most recent letter has not been received by Republicans. However, Jordan defends the investigation in his letter addressed to Pomerantz. He reiterates that Republicans could use the findings to draft legislation on federal forfeiture funds.
Jordan stated that Jordan could prohibit the use of these funds to investigate current or former presidents or presidential candidates. (The Manhattan DA’s office revealed that it used federal forfeiture funds for expenses related to Trump or Trump Organization investigations.
In a series TV interviews, Jordan stressed that Bragg’s subpoena remains possible. Jordan also suggested that the DA could appear voluntarily, or that Republicans focus first on Bragg’s circle.
House Republicans are particularly interested in Carey Dunne and Pomerantz since they both resigned earlier this year from Bragg’s office — reportedly due to Bragg’s doubts about the Trump case. Thursday’s subpoena is issued after Jordan sent letters to Pomerantz as well as Dunne last month. However, Dunne has not received a similar subpoena.