House GOP Can Look Into Trump Case

Judge allows Jordan's committee to interview former prosecutor
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 19, 2023 5:35 PM CDT
House GOP Can Look Into Trump Case
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks at a press conference after the arraignment of former President Donald Trump in New York on April 4.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

A federal judge will let House Republicans question a former Manhattan prosecutor about the criminal case against former President Donald Trump, ruling Wednesday that there is no legal basis to block the House Judiciary Committee's subpoena. US District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil rejected Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's request for a temporary restraining order and injunction, the AP reports, finding that committee Chairman Jim Jordan issued the subpoena to former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz with valid legislative purpose. Vyskocil, a Trump appointee, issued the ruling hours after a hearing in which she peppered lawyers on both sides with questions, asking them to parse thorny issues of sovereignty, separation of powers, and congressional oversight arising from the historic indictment.

Acknowledging the "political dogfights" surrounding the case, the judge said in her ruling that she "does not endorse either side's agenda." She encouraged the two sides to "reach a mutually agreeable compromise" on how Pomerantz's deposition will proceed. Pomerantz once oversaw the yearslong Trump investigation but left the job after clashing with Bragg over the direction of the case. Pomerantz later wrote a book about his work pursuing Trump and discussed the investigation in recent interviews on 60 Minutes and other shows. Bragg, a Democrat, sued Jordan and the Judiciary Committee last week seeking to block the deposition. His lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, argued that subpoenaing Pomerantz was part of a "transparent campaign to intimidate and attack" Bragg and that Congress was "invading a state" to investigate a local prosecutor when it had no authority to do so.

Vyskocil aggressively questioned lawyers for Bragg, who is prosecuting Trump, and the House Judiciary Committee, which started scrutinizing Bragg's investigation of the former president before his indictment. She said she sought to focus on the legalities, not the politics surrounding the case. Boutrous said House Republicans' interest in Bragg amounted to Congress "jumping in and haranguing the DA while the prosecution is ongoing." A committee lawyer countered that Congress has legitimate legislative reasons for wanting to question Pomerantz and examine Bragg's prosecution of Trump, citing the use of $5,000 in federal funds to pay for Trump-related investigations. Trump was indicted last month on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to bury allegations of extramarital sexual encounters. He has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty at arraignment.

(More Jim Jordan stories.)

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