House panel wants records of Rep. Jack Smith’s White House visits before Trump files charges

WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday demanded that the Biden administration explain why a prosecutor working for Special Counsel Jack Smith visited the West Wing ahead of the indictment of former President Donald Trump for allegedly mishandling classified security records. national.

Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, requesting all relevant documents regarding attorney Jay Bratt’s three known meetings at the Executive Mansion. , which The Post first reported on Saturday.

“According to recent reports, Jay Bratt, a Justice Department employee and top assistant to special counsel Jack Smith, met with White House officials multiple times, just weeks before Mr. Smith indicted former President Donald Trump,” he wrote. Jordan.

“This new information raises serious concerns about the possibility of a coordinated effort between the Department and the White House to investigate and prosecute President Biden’s political opponents.”

Jordan asked “[a]all documents and communications referring to or relating to any appointment, meeting or other visit of Mr. Bratt to the White House or the Executive Office of the President” and those “between the Executive Office of the President and the Department of Justice that are refer or relate to the investigation and/or prosecution of Special Prosecutor Jack Smith.

The House Judiciary Committee is demanding documents related to Justice Department attorney Jay Bratt’s visit to the White House.DOJ
Bratt is assistant special counsel Jack Smith.Bratt is assistant special counsel Jack Smith.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Archive

The request could become a legally binding subpoena if the records are not provided.

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Jordan wrote that “this letter serves as a formal request to preserve all existing and future records and materials relating to Mr. Bratt’s appointments, meetings and visits.”

The White House and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bratt has visited the West Wing three times since Biden took office, according to White House visitor records, including a meeting after joining Smith’s team in November 2022.

Rep. Jim Jordan wrote that the White House visit “raises serious concerns” about the possibility of a coordinated effort between the Justice Department and the White House to “investigate and prosecute President Biden’s political opponents.” Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock
Bratt's meeting at the White House on March 31, 2023 came months before Smith first accused former President Donald Trump.Bratt’s meeting at the White House on March 31, 2023 came months before Smith first accused former President Donald Trump. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Bratt met at the White House on March 31, 2023, with Caroline Saba, deputy chief of staff in the White House counsel’s office, and Danielle Ray, an FBI agent in the Washington field office, records show.

A spokesperson for Smith’s office said the visit was for an “interview related to the case” and a person familiar with the meeting said it was “an interview with a career official who also worked in the White House during the Trump Administration.” ”.

Nine weeks later, on June 8, Smith’s office indicted Trump for allegedly hoarding records at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Smith separately accused Trump on Aug. 1 of trying to stay in power after his 2020 election loss.

Bratt, 63, also met with Saba in November 2021 at the White House, while Trump was in talks with the National Archives about returning presidential records from his Palm Beach estate.

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Bratt had a third meeting at the White House in September 2021 with Katherine Reily, an adviser in the White House chief of staff’s office.

Bratt has served as chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control section in the national security division since October 2018 and visited Mar-a-Lago in June 2022 to inspect storage facilities on the property.

Stanley Woodward, a lawyer for Trump’s valet and co-defendant in the Walt Nauta documents case, accused Bratt in June of trying to coerce his client’s cooperation by floating Woodward’s previous application to be a federal judge.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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