WASHINGTON (AP) — An ex-prosecutor who once oversaw Manhattan’s yearslong investigation of former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined to substantively answer questions at a closed-door deposition Friday of the House Judiciary Committee, according to a Republican lawmaker in the meeting.
Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, exited the meeting after roughly one hour and said Mark Pomerantz, the former prosecutor, repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment that protects people from providing self-incriminating testimony.
“I think it’s very appropriate to say this is an obstructing witness who has no intention of answering any questions,” Issa told reporters.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, another Republican on the committee, also said lawmakers were “not getting many answers.”
Pomerantz, who left Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office after disagreements over the direction of the Trump investigation, was subpoenaed by the Republican-controlled House committee. The panel, chaired by GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, is probing how Bragg handled Trump’s historic indictment.
Bragg had sued to halt Jordan’s subpoena of Pomerantz, but last month agreed to Pomerantz’s testimony after a delay and a condition that lawyers from the prosecutor’s office be present. The committee has said it would have allowed the district attorney’s lawyers even without the agreement.
Pomerantz had argued in court papers that the subpoena left him in an “impossible position” and would potentially require him to violate his ethical obligations.
Republicans have defended Trump as he faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to bury allegations of extramarital affairs that arose during his 2016 White House campaign. GOP lawmakers have decried Bragg’s investigation as a “political persecution.”
Pomerantz is allowed to refuse to answer certain questions that touch on legal privilege and ethical obligations, but Jordan can rule on those assertions on a case-by-case basis.
Pomerantz recently wrote a book about his work pursuing Trump and discussed the investigation in interviews on “60 Minutes” and other shows. But Issa said he was not answering questions even on previous statements he had made.
Issa suggested that the fight over Pomerantz’s cooperation may return to the legal system, saying it would be “for the court to decide when we object to his failure to answer any questions.”
Leave a Reply