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The House Judiciary Committee has begun its second investigation into a local criminal case against former President Donald Trump by sending a letter to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, the committee’s chairman and a fervent Trump supporter, wrote in his letter that the prosecution of Willis involved “substantial federal interests,” a claim that he and other committee chairs made throughout this year during tense discussions with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg regarding his investigation into Trump’s business dealings in New York.
Bragg accused the chairmen of inappropriately interfering in state affairs in his responses, the Washington Examiner noted.
Their “attempted interference with an ongoing state criminal investigation—and now prosecution—is an unprecedented and illegitimate incursion on New York’s sovereign interests,” Bragg wrote in one response.
Following the discussions, Bragg filed a lawsuit to prevent Jordan from subpoenaing one of his former attorneys and to, more generally, “put an end to [Congress’s] constitutionally destructive fishing expedition.”
A federal judge sided with Jordan and agreed that he had the right to look into Bragg’s case, particularly in order to take relevant legislation into account.
Jordan has now explicitly described to Willis the “substantial federal interests” he has with her office, perhaps to avoid such back-and-forth again.
Trump and 18 other people, including former White House officials, were indicted by Willis this month on felony racketeering charges for allegedly trying to rig the Georgia 2020 election.
Jordan cited four reasons for his request and asked Willis to give his committee a number of documents and communications.
First, he claimed that the indictment raised questions about the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution because it seemed to “use state criminal law to regulate the conduct of federal officers acting in their official capacities.”
Next, Jordan noted that the federal government has the power to look into anything that might have an impact on former presidents’ “welfare,” noting that they are eligible for a number of benefits after leaving office, such as Secret Service. Trump is the GOP front-runner in the 2024 presidential election, which he continued to say “implicates” in the indictment. Additionally, he stated that was a “core federal interest.”
Thirdly, Jordan referred to a claim he also made to Bragg, according to which he could look into any district attorney office’s expenditures if they involved federal funds because Congress has authority over them.
The chairman concluded by calling attention to “questions about whether and how [Willis’s] office coordinated with DOJ.” He drew comparisons between the charges against Willis and the upcoming 2020 election.
“Congress has an interest in any such activity that involves federal law enforcement agencies and officials that fall under its oversight,” Jordan wrote.
Jordan wrote to Willis claiming her “indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding [her] actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated.”
Jordan referenced Willis’ prior fund-raising efforts while arguing her case against the former president in the letter.
“It is noteworthy that just four days before this indictment, you launched a new campaign fundraising website that highlighted your investigation into President Trump,” Jordan wrote. “Additionally, the forewoman of the special grand jury you convened to investigate President Trump earlier this year bragged during an unusual media tour about her excitement at the prospect of subpoenaing President Trump and getting to swear him in.”
House Republicans are using news reports that claim Willis used many of the same witnesses and resources as Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith to defend their decision to oversee Georgia state indictments.
“News outlets have reported that your office and Mr. Smith ‘interviewed many of the same witnesses and reviewed much of the same evidence’ in reaching your decision to indict President Trump,” the committee letter reads. “The House Committee on the Judiciary thus may investigate whether federal law enforcement agencies or officials were involved in your investigation or indictment.”
The committee is requesting that the district attorney’s office provide it with all records of its interactions with federal funds, correspondence with the DOJ or any of its divisions, and any records of collaboration with members of the executive branch.