Jim Jordan blasts Trump indictment, seeks answers from Attorney General Merrick Garland: letter
Rep. Jim Jordan cited testimony from a former FBI official regarding concerns he had about the DOJ's pursuit of the raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday, blasting the indictment against former President Donald Trump and citing an interview from a former FBI field office official regarding the irregularities of the Department of Justice's Trump probe.
Trump was indicted by the DOJ on Friday in a criminal case regarding the mishandling of classified documents found at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago. The former president is facing a total of 37 counts, including for allegedly making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct, and destruction and falsification of records.
The letter was released earlier on Friday, with Jordan writing that Trump was reportedly to be indicted by the DOJ despite the department "declining to indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information and failing to indict President Biden for his mishandling of classified information.
"The indictment creates, at the minimum, a serious appearance of a double standard and a miscarriage of justice—an impression that is only strengthened by allegations that a Biden Justice Department lawyer 'inappropriately sought to pressure' a Trump-affiliated lawyer with the prospect of a judgeship," Jordan continued.
The Judiciary Committee chairman wrote that Steven D'Antuono, the former Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, was interviewed by the committee on Wednesday and "expressed strong concerns with the Department's pursuit of the raid and noted several unusual features in the Department's handling of the case."
D'Antuono told the committee that despite the FBI's Miami Field Office having jurisdiction over the location of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, "FBI headquarters made the decision to assign the execution of the search warrant to the Washington Field Office," according to Jordan. The former FBI official added that "he had 'absolutely no idea' why this decision was made and questioned why the Miami Field Office was not taking the lead on this matter."
Jordan said that D'Antuono also mentioned, regarding the investigation into Trump, that "it was unusual to not have a U.S. Attorney assigned to an investigative matter, especially a matter of this magnitude."
Instead, Jordan wrote, "Jay Bratt, who leads the Department's counterintelligence division," was, as D'Antuono said, "the lead prosecutor on the case."
"Bratt is the same Department lawyer who allegedly improperly pressured a lawyer representing an employee of President Trump," Jordan added.
D'Antuono also noted that "the Department assertively pushed for the FBI to promptly execute the search warrant," according to Jordan. The former FBI official said "he believed that the FBI, prior to resorting to a search warrant, should have sought consent to search the premises" of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Jordan wrote, especially as "there was a good likelihood that [they] could have gotten consent," D'Antuono was cited as saying.
Additionally, D'Antuono said he believed that either Garland or FBI "Director Christopher Wray made the decision to seek a search warrant, despite opposition from the line agents working this case in the [Washington Field Office]."
D'Antuono also "testified that the FBI sought to exclude President Trump's attorney from the search" of Mar-a-Lago, a decision with which he disagreed, according to Jordan.
The committee chairman is requesting "[a]ll documents and communications" from Garland "referring or relating to meetings between FBI and Justice Department officials prior to the execution of the search warrant on President Trump's private residence"; the execution of the warrant; and "[a]ll documents and communications between or among Washington Field Office agents and employees and the U.S. Secret Service about a potential search of President Trump's residence."