Republicans Press DOJ About 'Impartiality' After Biden Staffer Met With Jack Smith's Team Before Trump Indictment

House Republicans are pressing the DOJ and the White House to provide records of communications between special counsel Jack Smith's office and President Joe Biden's Executive Office.
Republicans Press DOJ About 'Impartiality' After Biden Staffer Met With Jack Smith's Team Before Trump Indictment
Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the press at the Department of Justice building in Washington, on August 1, 2023. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Tom Ozimek

House Republicans are pressing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the White House to provide records of communications between special counsel Jack Smith's office and President Joe Biden's Executive Office, raising concerns about Mr. Smith's "impartiality" in prosecuting former President Donald Trump.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) penned a pair of nearly identical letters to Attorney General Merrick Garland and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, demanding records and raising questions about possible prosecutorial misconduct after it emerged that a member of Mr. Smith's team met with a White House staffer several weeks before President Trump's indictment.

"The Committee on the Judiciary is continuing its oversight of the Biden Justice Department's commitment to impartial justice and its handling of a special counsel investigation against President Biden's chief opponent in the upcoming presidential election," Mr. Jordan wrote.

Mr. Jordan cited media reports indicating that Jay Bratt, a prosecutor on Mr. Smith's team, met with White House officials multiple times before Mr. Smith indicted President Trump.

A recent meeting reported on by The Epoch Times involved Mr. Bratt meeting with Caroline Saba, deputy chief of staff for President Joe Biden's White House Counsel's office, on March 31.
"This new information raises serious concerns regarding the potential for a coordinated effort between the Department and the White House to investigate and prosecute President Biden's political opponents," Mr. Jordan wrote.

More Details

The Republican lawmaker added that the Judiciary Committee had previously raised concerns about Mr. Bratt's involvement in this matter.

"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," Mr. Jordan wrote, adding that Mr. Bratt had  "allegedly commented to the lawyer that he did not think the lawyer was a 'Trump guy' and that 'he would do the right thing.'"

This relates to allegations that Stanley Woodward, an attorney for Trump co-defendant in the classified documents case, Walt Nauta, was inappropriately pressured by Mr. Bratt to convince Mr. Nauta to cooperate.

President Trump himself alleged on Truth Social that the prosecutor tried to "bribe [and] intimidate" Nauta's lawyer by offering an "important judgeship" if his client "flips" on the former president.

In light of the reporting, Mr. Jordan said the House Judiciary Committee was seeking records of communications relating to the meeting between Mr. Bratt and White House staffers.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment while Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mr. Smith's office, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that the office “declines to comment on any case-related interviews.”

President Trump took to Truth Social to comment on earlier reports that Mr. Bratt had met with White House staff.

"It has just been reported that aides to TRUMP prosecutor, Deranged Jack Smith, met with high officials at the White House just prior to these political SleazeBags Indicating me OVER NOTHING," the former president said in his post.

"If this is so, which it is, that means that Biden and his Fascist Thugs knew and APPROVED of this Country dividing Form of Election Interference, despite their insisting that they 'knew nothing,'" President Trump continued.

"It’s all a BIG LIE, just like Russia, Russia, Russia, & not knowing about son’s business dealings. DISMISS CASE!" he added.

Mystery Meeting

Visitor logs reviewed by The Epoch Times show that Mr. Bratt met with Ms. Saba on March 31.

Although the logs provide no details as to the subject of the meeting or what was discussed, questions have been raised about why a member of Mr. Smith's team would be meeting with the White House Counsel's office while in the midst of an investigation into President Trump, who is President Biden's chief rival in the 2024 presidential race.

While the subject of the meeting remains a mystery, it took place several days after an Obama-appointed judge ordered Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify before a grand jury in Mr. Smith's investigation into documents held by the former president at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.

Mr. Smith's team prevailed in getting more testimony from Mr. Corcoran after Chief Judge Beryl Howell rejected attorney-client privilege claims that Mr. Corcoran raised during an appearance before a grand jury in Washington in January.

About nine weeks after Mr. Bratt met with Ms. Saba in the West Wing, Mr. Smith indicted the 45th president on 37 counts, including willful retention of classified documents, obstruction of justice, and making false statements.

On June 13, President Trump pleaded not guilty to the 37 charges, including alleged violations of the Espionage Act, which criminalizes unauthorized possession of defense information.

Rudy Giuliani, who once served as a federal prosecutor, told the New York Post that "there is no legitimate purpose for a line [DOJ] guy to be meeting with the White House except if it's coordinated by the highest levels."

Mr. Giuliani also said that he believes that the meeting was about coordinating the prosecution of Mr. Trump, who was indicted about nine weeks later on criminal charges that include unlawfully retaining national defense secrets at his Mar-a-Lago home.

In a post on Truth Social on Tuesday, President Trump called the indictments against him "all part of my political opponents campaign plan."

"It is Election Interference, and they are going to use the DOJ/FBI to help them, which is illegal. Crooked Joe pushed this litigation hard to get it done. This is a new low in Presidential Politics," the former president added.

Initially, Mr. Smith indicted President Trump on June 8 on dozens of counts in connection with allegations that he kept national defense secrets at his Florida residence.

Later, on July 27, Mr. Smith's team accused President Trump in an updated indictment (pdf) of conspiring with his staff to delete some security footage so that the grand jury in the case wouldn't see all the evidence.

Mar-a-Lago staffer Carlos De Oliveira was named as a third defendant in the superseding indictment, along with Trump aide Walt Nauta and the former commander-in-chief.

President Trump has said he used his presidential authority to declassify all the relevant documents in the case against him and has denied that he hid any materials from the government.

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.