The House GOP on Thursday fired off its first subpoena in its investigation of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, escalating a standoff over the indictment of former President Donald Trump.
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is summoning Mark Pomerantz, a former county special assistant district attorney, to appear behind closed doors for a deposition on April 20, according to a copy of the subpoena viewed by POLITICO.
“Based on your unique role as a special assistant district attorney leading the investigation into President Trump’s finances, you are uniquely situated to provide information that is relevant and necessary to inform the Committee’s oversight and potential legislative reforms,” Jordan wrote in a separate letter to Pomerantz that accompanied the subpoena.
It’s unusual for Congress to subpoena a line prosecutor — and Jordan, in his Thursday letter, alleges that Bragg’s office directed Pomerantz not to cooperate with oversight.
Bragg’s office issued a fiery rebuke of the subpoena, painting it as House Republicans’ latest attempt to meddle by “intruding on the sovereignty of the state of New York by interfering in an ongoing criminal matter in state court.”
“The House GOP continues to attempt to undermine an active investigation and ongoing New York criminal case with an unprecedented campaign of harassment and intimidation. Repeated efforts to weaken state and local law enforcement actions are an abuse of power and will not deter us from our duty to uphold the law,” Bragg’s office added.
Reached by email, Pomerantz declined to address Jordan’s subpoena, saying only “No comment.”
But Pomerantz has also written a book where he included details of the New York investigation into Trump and the Trump organization that could make the subpoena harder to resist.
The Jan. 6 select committee used a similar argument against former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ resistance to a summons, arguing he waived any potential privileges by releasing a book that describes some of his interactions with the former president. Meadows was later held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify, though the Justice Department declined to prosecute him.
However, another Jan. 6 committee witness who wrote a book before refusing to appear — Peter Navarro — is currently being prosecuted for contempt of Congress.
Jordan told Pomerantz that “you have no basis to decline to testify about matters before the Committee that you have already discussed in your book and/or on a prime-time television program with an audience in the millions, including on the basis of any purported duty of confidentiality or privilege interest.”
The subpoena comes just days after Trump appeared in court in New York and pled not guilty to 34 felony counts of “falsifying business records.” Prosecutors allege that Trump, the first former president ever indicted, tried first to bury and then cover up damaging allegations about an extramarital affair by falsifying company records.
Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony charges
It also comes as Republicans weigh their next steps in their probe of Bragg’s office.
They’ve returned multiple rounds of volleys seeking testimony and official documents from Leslie Dubeck, Bragg’s general counsel. Dubeck replied to Jordan, Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and Administration Chair Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) last week requesting a list of questions they would want to ask Bragg as well as what documents they think they could receive that wouldn’t disclose private details of an investigation.
Dubeck, while urging Republicans to negotiate before a potential subpoena of Bragg, also offered a blistering critique of the investigation in her letter calling their accusations of political persecution as “baseless and inflammatory.”
“We urge you to refrain from these inflammatory accusations, withdraw your demand for information, and let the criminal justice process proceed without unlawful political interference,” she added.
Bragg’s office has contended that congressional Republicans have no “legitimate legislative purpose” behind the inquiry into the DA’s Trump probe. But Jordan has contended the inquiry is linked to the national implications of prosecuting a former president — from conflicts between state and federal law to the Secret Service’s role in protecting an ex-president who is also a criminal defendant.
Republicans haven’t yet responded to Dubeck’s latest letter, but Jordan defended the investigation in his letter to Pomerantz — reiterating that Republicans could use findings from it to draft bills on the use of federal forfeiture funds.
That would include, Jordan said, a potential prohibition of those funds’ use to investigate a current or former president, or a presidential candidate. (The Manhattan DA’s office disclosed that it has used federal forfeiture funds on expenses related to investigations of Trump or the Trump organization.)
Jordan has stressed in a series of TV interviews this week that a subpoena of Bragg remains on the table. He’s also left the door open to the DA voluntarily appearing or even Republicans focusing first on other individuals in Bragg’s orbit.
Pomerantz and Carey Dunne are of particular interest to House Republicans, since both resigned from Bragg’s office earlier this year — reportedly because of Bragg’s doubts at the time about moving forward with the Trump case. Thursday’s subpoena comes after Jordan fired off letters to both Pomerantz and Dunne last month, but has not issued a similar subpoena to Dunne.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.
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