A Manhattan attorney general’s attempt to prevent the former attorney general from testifying in Congress about efforts to impeach Donald Trump failed Wednesday, as a judge ruled that Mark Pomerantis could be subpoenaed to testify.
Pomerantz worked for years on the Trump investigation, but left the job after clashing with Attorney General Alvin Bragg over the direction of the case.
He recently wrote a book about his work following Trump and has discussed the investigation in interviews on 60 Minutes and other shows.
Jim Jordan, the staunchly pro-Trump House Judiciary Committee chairman, is investigating what he claims is the politically motivated illegal prosecution of Trump.
Jordan sought Pomerantz’s testimony, but Bragg sued to prevent it.
Mark Pomerantz, a former Manhattan district attorney, spent years investigating Trump but left his job after a falling out with Alvin Bragg.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sought to block Pomerants from testifying before the Jordan Commission
Prague’s attorney, Theodore Boutros, argued that seeking Pomerantz’s testimony was part of a ‘transparent campaign to intimidate and attack Prague’, and that Congress was ‘invading a country’ to investigate the local attorney general when it had no authority to do so.
On Wednesday, Bragg was overruled.
“It is not the role of the federal judiciary to dictate what legislation Congress may consider or how to conduct its deliberations in this regard,” Viscosil wrote in a 25-page opinion.
Mr. Pomerantis must appear before Congress. No one is above the law.’
Viscocel, the Trump appointee, ruled after a two-hour hearing in which she hurled questions at lawyers on both sides, asking them to analyze thorny issues of sovereignty, separation of powers and congressional oversight arising from the landmark indictment.
Acknowledging the “political battles” that surrounded the case, the judge said in her ruling that she “does not endorse either side’s agenda.”
It encouraged both sides to talk and “come to a mutually acceptable compromise” on how Pomerant’s decision could proceed.
Jordan seeks to question him Thursday morning in Washington.
“Today’s decision shows that Congress has the ability to conduct oversight and issue subpoenas for people like Mark Pomerantz, and we look forward to his testimony before the Judiciary Committee,” Jordan spokesman Russell Day said.
Jim Jordan, a Trump ally who now chairs the House Judiciary Committee, is investigating the impeachment trial of Donald Trump
The Judiciary Committee began examining Prague’s investigation of the former president in the weeks leading up to his indictment.
Jordan sent letters requesting interviews with Bragg and documents before Pomerantis was recalled.
In its ruling, Viscocel said it will deal with any legal battles that may arise from further subpoenas in the committee’s investigation of Prague.
The committee’s attorney, Matthew Perry, countered that Congress had legitimate legislative reasons for wanting to question Pomerants and examine Trump’s Prague trial, noting the office’s use of $5,000 in federal funds to pay for investigations involving Trump.
Perry said Congress is also considering legislation, introduced by Republicans in the wake of Trump’s indictment, to change how criminal cases against former presidents proceed.
One bill prohibits prosecutors from using federal funds to investigate presidents, and another bill requires that any criminal cases involving a former president be resolved in federal court rather than at the state level.
Pomerantz declined to comment because he walked out of the hearing carrying a stack of papers with his book, People Against Donald Trump, on top.
His attorney, Ted Wells, said he would accompany Pomerantz if forced to testify.
Neither Pomerantis nor his lawyers spoke during the hearing.
In a court case, however, he sided with Bragg’s position and maintained that he should not be questioned by the committee.
Perry, the committee’s attorney, argued that Pomerants had already shared a lot of information with the public about his work on the Trump investigation and that the Judiciary Committee had the right to question him about it as well.
Perry argued, “I don’t think that’s such rational or logical behavior that the House Judiciary Committee ranks less than 60 minutes.”
Perry said Pomerantz can decline to answer certain questions, citing legal privilege and moral obligations, and Jordan will rule on those assertions on a case-by-case basis, but he should not be excused from attending.
Perry said that if Jordan reverses Pomerant’s decision and still refuses to answer, he could face a criminal referral to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress, but that won’t happen immediately.
Trump was indicted last month on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush payments made during the 2016 campaign to bury allegations of extramarital sexual encounters.
He denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty at trial last week.