The House Judiciary Committee is pressing both the White House and Justice Department to provide information about meetings between special counsel Jack Smith’s team and White House aides in the weeks leading to the indictment of former President Donald Trump in the classified documents case.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote letters to Attorney General Merrick Garland and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients inquiring about Smith aide Jay Bratt’s meeting with Biden White House officials on numerous occasions—including a meeting nine weeks before the grand jury indictment in the documents case.
Jordan’s letters say the information about the visits “raises serious concerns regarding the potential for a coordinated effort between the Department and the White House to investigate and prosecute President [Joe] Biden’s political opponents.”
The letters ask the White House and Justice Department for documents and communications referring to a visit from Bratt to the White House and for documents and communications between the Executive Office of the President and the Department of Justice referring to the investigation or prosecutions by Smith’s office. Jordan asked each to provide the information by 5 p.m. on Sept. 12.
“In September 2021, Mr. Bratt reportedly met with an advisor to the White House chief of staff. Two months later, in November 2021, Mr. Bratt again went to the White House to meet with administration officials. During this same period, President Trump’s lawyers were negotiating with the National Archives about presidential records from his tenure in office,” the Jordan letters to Garland and Zients say.
The letters to Garland and Zients were almost identical.
“According to reporting, Mr. Bratt’s 2021 White House meetings related to ‘national security.’ Subsequently, on March 31, 2023, just nine weeks prior to Mr. Smith’s indictment of President Trump, Mr. Bratt met with the White House Counsel’s Office Deputy Chief of Staff Caroline Saba and FBI Special Agent Danielle Ray for a ‘case-related interview,’” the letters say.
The New York Post first reported Saturday on the West Wing meeting with Bratt and White House officials.
The Jordan letters also references that Stanley Woodward, a lawyer for indicted Trump protege Walter Nauta, alleged Bratt talked to him about his application to be a federal judge.
“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,” the Jordan letters say. “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.”
Smith secured a federal grand jury indictment in Florida against Trump in June regarding Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office. Smith has since secured a separate indictment from a Washington, D.C., grand jury against Trump regarding his efforts to challenge the 2020 election outcome. Trump has also been indicted on state charges by grand juries in New York and Georgia.
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