Jim Jordan fights on doggedly for his lord and master — but there's no winning this battle

Jim Jordan wants to be Donald Trump's attack dog — but his legal arguments against Alvin Bragg are toothless

By Gregg Barak

Contributing Writer

Published April 13, 2023 5:45AM (EDT)

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, strikes the gavel to start a hearing on U.S. southern border security on Capitol Hill, February 01, 2023 in Washington, DC.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, strikes the gavel to start a hearing on U.S. southern border security on Capitol Hill, February 01, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Last week, one of Donald Trump's apparent Jan. 6 co-conspirators, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who chairs both the House Judiciary Committee and its misbegotten Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government — which has been misfiring as badly as special counsel John Durham's investigation of supposed wrongdoing in the origins of the Russia inquiry — announced that the Judiciary panel would visit New York next Monday to hold a field hearing on "Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan." 

Let's recall that Jordan was among the four GOP members of Congress referred to the bipartisan House Ethics Committee last December for defying a subpoena for testimony and documents issued by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Last Thursday, Jordan also issued his first subpoena aimed at undermining Trump's Manhattan indictment, directed at Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor on the staff of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.  

Pomerantz previously helped lead the investigation into Trump's finances and his alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, but resigned in early 2022 after Bragg initially declined to move forward with the case. Pomerantz is also the author of "People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account," which concerns an earlier investigation by the Manhattan office to prosecute the former president.

According to the New York Times, Pomerantz has said he will "not be providing documents or testimony" to Jordan's committee, citing instructions from Bragg.

As Joyce Vance has written, there's a crucial difference between Pomerantz and politicians who have written books or spoken extensively in public but then and then decline to comply with congressional subpoenas: "Pomerantz was involved in a grand jury investigation. While he went further than some might have in his public conversations, he did not disclose grand jury proceedings — to do so violates the law. And, in any event, the charges Bragg has indicted on are different from the charges Pomerantz wrote about."

This week Bragg fired back, with an unprecedented lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan. In his official capacity as New York County D.A., he sued Jordan and the other members of the Judiciary Committee,, along with Pomerantz.

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In the introduction to Bragg v. Jordan, the D.A. writes that this suit comes "in response to an unprecedented brazen and unconstitutional attack by the members of Congress on an ongoing New York State criminal prosecution and investigation of former President Donald. J. Trump." Jordan and his fellow House Republicans, Bragg argues, have conducted "a transparent campaign to intimidate and attack District Attorney Bragg, making demands for confidential documents and testimony from the District Attorney himself as well as his current and former employees and officials." Bragg specifically cites the subpoena served to Pomerantz just two days after Trump was arraigned in a New York courtroom. 

Whereas most civil suits seek money damages, Bragg is asking the court for a permanent injunction against the Pomerantz subpoena, which he describes as "invalid, unconstitutional, ultra vires [i.e., outside legal authority], and/or unenforceable."

Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, a Trump appointee but a well-respected member of the bench, rejected Bragg's request to enter a temporary restraining order against Jordan and his committee, which is not unusual in itself. That would have immediately prevented any enforcement of the Pomerantz subpoena, even before Jordan's lawyers could argue on its behalf.

Instead, Vyskocil has set a rapid schedule for considering whether to enter a preliminary injunction. She ordered Bragg to serve the lawsuit on the defendants on Wednesday evening, and the defendants have been ordered to respond by 9 a.m. on Monday, April 17, with a hearing on the matter set for April 19. 

Congress certainly has wide jurisdiction when it comes to judicial oversight, but the principle that ongoing criminal investigations in state or federal courts are off limits is well established. Nevertheless, it's entirely possible that this lawsuit could wind its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So goes another battle, with several more to come, between Donald J. Trump and his minions on one side, and the rule of law in the United States of America on the other.

By Gregg Barak

Gregg Barak is an emeritus professor of criminology and criminal justice at Eastern Michigan University and the author of several books on the crimes of the powerful, including Criminology on Trump (2022) and its 2024 sequel, Indicting the 45th President: Boss Trump, the GOP, and What We Can Do About the Threat to American Democracy.



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Alvin Bragg Commentary Crime Donald Trump Indictment Jim Jordan Law