Editor’s Notice: Dean Obeidallah, a former lawyer, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s each day program “The Dean Obeidallah Present.” Observe him @DeanObeidallah@masto.ai. The opinions expressed on this commentary are his personal. View more opinion on CNN.
On Monday, the GOP-controlled Home Judiciary Committee — chaired by Donald Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan — is about to carry a field hearing in New York Metropolis referred to as “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan.” A statement payments the listening to as an examination of how, the Judiciary Committee says, Manhattan District Lawyer Alvin Bragg’s insurance policies have “led to a rise in violent crime and a harmful group for New York Metropolis residents.”
In response, Bragg’s workplace slammed Jordan’s listening to as “a political stunt” whereas noting that knowledge launched by the New York Police Division exhibits crime is down in Manhattan with respect to murders, burglaries, robberies and extra by way of April 2, in contrast with the identical interval final 12 months.
In actuality, this Jordan-led listening to isn’t about stopping crime however about defending Trump — who was not too long ago charged by a Manhattan grand jury with 34 felonies. Trump pleaded not responsible to the felony fees stemming from an investigation right into a hush-money fee to an grownup movie actress. The previous president is also going through felony probes in different jurisdictions over efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Bragg sued Jordan and his committee final week in federal courtroom, accusing the Judiciary Committee chairman of a “transparent campaign to intimidate and attack” his workplace for its investigation and prosecution of Trump by making demands for confidential paperwork and testimony.
Whereas Jordan and his committee seem centered on discrediting the investigation into Trump, why aren’t they trying into two latest bombshell reports by ProPublica that raised crimson flags about Supreme Court docket Justice Clarence Thomas’ monetary relationship with GOP megadonor Harlan Crow? In any case, the Home Judiciary Committee’s website explains that it has jurisdiction over “issues regarding the administration of justice in federal courts” – for which the revelations regarding Thomas match completely.
First, we realized in early April that Crow had offered Thomas and his spouse, Ginni, for many years with luxurious vacations together with on the donor’s yacht and private jet to faraway locations reminiscent of Indonesia and New Zealand. That info was by no means revealed to the general public. (In a uncommon public assertion, Thomas responded he was suggested on the time that he didn’t must report the journeys. The justice mentioned the rules for reporting private hospitality have changed recently. “And, it’s, after all, my intent to observe this steering sooner or later,” he mentioned.)
Then on Thursday, ProPublica reported that Thomas failed to disclose a 2014 actual property deal involving the sale of three properties he and his household owned in Savannah, Georgia, to that very same GOP megadonor, Crow. Considered one of Crow’s firms made the purchases for $133,363, based on ProPublica. A federal disclosure law handed after Watergate requires Supreme Court docket justices and different officers to make public the main points of most actual property gross sales over $1,000.
As ProPublica detailed, the federal disclosure kind Thomas filed for that 12 months included an area to report the id of the customer in any personal transaction, however Thomas left that house clean. 4 ethics law experts told ProPublica that Thomas’ failure to report it seems to be a violation of the legislation. (Thomas didn’t reply to questions from ProPublica on its report; CNN reached out to the Supreme Court docket and Thomas for remark.)
The Home Judiciary Committee has lengthy addressed points reminiscent of these surrounding Thomas. Actually, the committee is the place investigations and the impeachment of federal judges usually begin.
One latest instance got here in 2010 with Decide G. Thomas Porteous Jr., whom the committee investigated and advisable for impeachment.
The committee’s Task Force on Judicial Impeachment mentioned proof confirmed Porteous “deliberately made materials false statements and representations below penalty of perjury, engaged in a corrupt kickback scheme, solicited and accepted illegal presents, and deliberately misled the Senate throughout his affirmation proceedings.” The Senate later found Porteous guilty of four articles of impeachment and eliminated him from the bench.
But the Judiciary Committee has neither released statements nor tweets elevating alarm bells about Thomas. As a substitute, its Twitter feed is full of repeated tweets whining that C-SPAN won’t cover Monday’s New York area listening to. Worse, the committee retweeted GOP Rep. Mary Miller’s tweet defending Thomas as being attacked “as a result of he’s a person of deep religion, who loves our nation and believes in our Structure.”
Jordan’s use of his committee to help Trump ought to shock nobody. The Home January 6 committee’s report referred to as the Ohio Republican “a significant player in President Trump’s efforts” to overturn the election. The report detailed the lawmaker’s efforts to help Trump including on “January 2, 2021, Representative Jordan led a convention name by which he, President Trump, and different Members of Congress mentioned methods for delaying the January sixth joint session.” In consequence, the January 6 committee subpoenaed Jordan to testify — however he refused to cooperate.
In distinction with the Home panel, the Senate Judiciary Committee — headed by Democrats — announced within the wake of the reporting on Thomas that it plans to carry a listening to “on the necessity to restore confidence within the Supreme Court docket’s moral requirements.” Past that, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia sent a letter Friday calling for a referral of Thomas to the US lawyer normal over “potential violations of the Ethics in Authorities Act 1978.”
The Home Judiciary Committee’s web site notes, “The Committee on the Judiciary has been referred to as the lawyer for the Home of Representatives.” Below Jordan that description must be up to date to state that the Committee on the Judiciary is now “the lawyer for Donald J. Trump.” And the worst half is that the taxpayers are those paying for Jordan’s work on Trump’s behalf.