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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Farnoush Amiri

House GOP demands info from former prosecutors in Trump case

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

House Republicans on Wednesday demanded testimony and documents from two former Manhattan prosecutors who had been leading a criminal investigation into Donald Trump before quitting last year in a clash over the direction of the probe.

Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent letters to Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne as the party rallies around the former president. They request transcribed interviews and a series of communications by March 27. A grand jury in New York is weighing whether or not to bring an indictment against Trump.

The letters, obtained by The Associated Press, are part of a larger GOP-led congressional investigation into Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as he is wrapping up a probe into whether Trump engaged in an illegal hush money scheme involving a porn actor. Jordan and other senior Republicans have called the Bragg's investigation a “political persecution,” and one that is without merit.

“Last year, you resigned from the office over Bragg’s initial reluctance to move forward with charges, shaming Bragg in your resignation letter — which was subsequently leaked — into bringing charges,” Jordan, an Ohio Republican, wrote in the letter to Pomerantz late Wednesday. “It now appears that your efforts to shame Bragg have worked as he is reportedly resurrecting a so-called ‘zombie’ case against President Trump using a tenuous and untested legal theory.”

The outreach to Carey and Pomerantz comes days after Jordan and two other Republican chairmen sent a letter to Bragg, a Democrat, seeking information about his actions in the Trump case, which they characterized as an “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.” They requested testimony as well as documents and copies of any communications with the Justice Department.

"No authorities wanted to take the case but then what changed? President Trump announces he’s running for president and shazam,” Jordan told reporters Monday.

By effectively demanding transparency in the middle of a criminal investigation, House Republicans are using the power of their new majority to defend Trump — who is still seen as the leader of the party — as he mounts a second run for president.

The Manhattan grand jury appears close to finishing its work, after hearing last week from Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, but the timing of a possible decision on whether to charge the ex-president remains uncertain. Prosecutors canceled a scheduled grand jury session Wednesday and it wasn’t clear if the panel would meet Thursday.

Requests for comment from Pomerantz and Dunne were not immediately returned Wednesday night.

Pomerantz, who along with Dunne oversaw the hush-money investigation until early last year, released a book last month titled “People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account." In the book, he detailed how then-District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. authorized him in December 2021 to seek Trump’s indictment.

Pomerantz has portrayed the hush-money payments — made or arranged by Cohen — as perhaps the most challenging, legally fraught of the potential cases against the former president.

Vance abandoned the hush-money angle in 2019, pivoting the investigation’s focus to other matters, but Pomerantz said he revisited it when he joined the office in January 2021, looking for a way to make more serious felony charges stick.

He considered whether Trump could be charged with money laundering and explored if porn actor Stormy Daniels had demanded payment to remain quiet, thereby extorting him. Pomerantz said the hush-money matter became known around the office as the “zombie” case.

Still, Pomerantz wrote, “Over the months that I and others worked on the case, we developed evidence convincing us that Donald Trump had committed serious crimes.”

Even if a conviction wasn’t a certainty, Pomerantz said he thought they owed it the public to bring the case to trial. “Losing it would be better than not even trying,” he wrote.

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