House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) is now accusing federal prosecutors of trying to pressure Trump lawyers, and is playing a dangerous game with Special Counsel Jack Smith.
Rep. Jordan is once again trying to obtain documents from the ongoing Jack Smith investigation. Now Jordan wants to investigate Jack Smith’s prosecutors for allegedly pressuring one of the lawyers being paid for by Donald Trump.
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. Last year, Jay Bratt—one of your senior prosecutors and top aides—allegedly improperly pressured Stanley Woodward, a lawyer representing a defendant indicted by you, by implying that the Administration would look more favorably on Mr. Woodward’s candidacy for a judgeship if Mr. Woodward’s client cooperated with the Office of the Special Counsel.
This attempt to inappropriately coerce Mr. Woodward raises serious concerns about the abusive tactics of the Office of the Special Counsel and the Department’s commitment to its mission to uphold the rule of law and ensure impartial justice. In November 2022, when your prosecutors were trying to secure the cooperation of Walt Nauta—who is alleged to have “move[d] boxes of documents” at Mar-a-Lago2—prosecutors, including Mr. Bratt, summoned Mr. Woodward to a meeting at the Department’s headquarters for “an urgent matter that they were reluctant to discuss over the phone.”
When Mr. Woodward arrived, Mr. Bratt threatened him that Mr. Nauta should cooperate “because he had given potentially conflicting testimony that could result in a false statement.” 4Mr. Bratt commented that he did not take Mr. Woodward as a “Trump guy” and indicated that he was confident that application for a judgeship on the D.C. superior court, implying that the Biden Administration would perceive Mr. Woodward’s application more favorably if Mr. Nauta was a cooperating witness for the Special Counsel against President Trump. Mr. Woodward subsequently informed the Justice Department that they “would have no further communications” unless the Justice Department charged Mr. Nauta or brokered an immunity deal. After Mr. Woodward declined to give in to Mr. Bratt’s intimidation and coercion, Mr. Bratt once again sought to induce Mr. Nauta’s cooperation by attacking Mr. Woodward’s representation.
On August 2, 2023, Mr. Bratt filed a motion in Mr. Nauta’s case raising alleged conflicts of interests presented by Mr. Woodward’s representation of two other witnesses “who could be called to testify at a trial in the case involving classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.”
He further suggested that the court should “procure independent counsel” to be present at the hearing “to advise Mr. Woodward’s clients regarding the potential conflicts.” Mr. Woodward’s reply brief stated that Mr. Bratt’s intimidation threats were merely “an attempt to diminish the Court’s authority over the proceedings in this case and to undermine attorney-client relationships without any basis specific to the facts of such representation.”
Jordan has tried to meddle in the investigations of Trump by Fani Willis and Alvin Bragg. In both cases, he was told by each of the local prosecutors to go kick rocks. However, the game that Jordan is playing with the Special Counsel is especially dangerous to a group of congressional Republicans who appear to have been active participants in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
In his effort to help Trump, Jim Jordan is messing with the one office that could investigate and potentially indict members of Congress if it is proven that they played a role in helping or assisting Trump’s coup.
Rep. Jordan, like Trump, is making a big mistake by viewing serious legal matters through a prism of politics. If Jim Jordan tries to come after Jack Smith, he and his Republican colleagues could soon regret it.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association