House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) is continuing his quest to involve himself in Trump’s legal affairs, using his authority as a House chair to protect Trump and performatively investigate the investigators. In a new court filing, his legal team asserted that he has the right to undermine the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation.
The Ohio Republican asked a district judge on Monday to allow his House panel to subpoena Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office who’s since written a book about his work in that office investigating Trump.
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s office just brought 34 counts of falsifying business records against Trump. Last week, Bragg sued to block Jordan’s Pomerantz subpoena and to stop what he called a “campaign of intimidation” against his office. But Jordan’s attorneys asked U.S. District Court Judge Mary Vyskocil on Monday to throw out the suit on the grounds that the Speech or Debate Clause gave Jordan every right to subpoena the former prosecutor.
“The Speech of Debate Clause mandates that Senators and Representatives ‘shall not be questioned in any other Place’ for ‘any Speech or Debate in either House,’” his attorneys wrote in a Monday filing, the same day that Jordan held a House Judiciary Committee field hearing in Manhattan designed to attack Bragg further. His lawyers stated that the Clause is supposed to allow legislators to conduct their business independently, without intimidation from the executive branch or “accountability before a possibly hostile judiciary.”
They also argued that the Clause bars any inquiry into “the motivation for [legislative] acts,” so protections granted by it aren’t evaded by claims that a legislator “acted unlawfully or with an unworthy purpose.”
Citing the 1975 Supreme Court case Eastland v. U.S. Servicemen’s Fund, the attorneys argued that their subpoena is “absolutely” protected by the Clause because, the high court ruled back then, the statute provided “complete immunity” for the legislators in that case.
Lastly, Jordan’s team argued that Bragg’s request for a preliminary injunction lacked merit. If a subpoena by a member of Congress satisfies the Clause’s requirements as a legislative act, they argue, courts have held that that’s “the end of the matter.”
Monday’s filing is just the latest in Jordan’s ongoing attempts to use his House Judiciary chairmanship to do Trump’s bidding. In mid-March he sent Bragg a letter asking whether he was colluding with the Justice Department, just hours after the former president elevated conspiracy theories saying as much on Truth Social. Turns out, Trump’s team had been coordinating with top Republican Congressmembers, including Jordan, to defend him against Bragg’s probes.
He’d also started clawing at Pomerantz around this time, starting with a letter requesting his cooperation on March 22 that blossomed into a full-blown subpoena on April 6.
Pomerantz himself chimed in on Monday, only to support Bragg’s request for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order.
“I believe that the Committee seeks my testimony not for any legitimate legislative purpose, but rather to impede and interfere with the District Attorney’s Office’s ongoing work, assist Mr. Trump in his defense, probe my political views, and harass me because I was the author of People v. Donald Trump, a book that Mr. Trump and some of his supporters do not like,” he wrote. “Even assuming, contrary to fact, that the Committee’s ‘oversight’ interests are not pretextual, and that I had information that was pertinent to a legitimate legislative purpose, the subpoena to me should not be enforced.”
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday.
Read the full filing below: