“Hostile”: Jim Jordan fires off nine-page response after DA Fani Willis rebukes his investigation

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a response letter to Fulton County, Ga. District Attorney Fani Willis Wednesday after she rebuked the investigation he opened last month into her probe of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in her state.

The latest letter from the Ohio representative explains Congress’ “clear legislative interest” in making sure elected prosecutors don’t abuse their authority to politically “target federal officials,” which is one of Jordan’s main accusations against the Atlanta-area district attorney. He argues, in the letter, that the “Constitutional and legal precedent” Willis cites does not provide her with any basis to reject compliance with the committee’s requests.

“Your letter reinforces the Committee’s concern that your prosecutorial conduct is geared more toward advancing a political cause and your own notoriety than toward promoting the fair and just administration of the law,” Jordan opened in the nine-page letter, later referring to Willis’ response to his initial communication “hostile” and suggesting it indicates she is “actively and aggressively engaged in such a scheme.”

Jordan launched the investigation into Willis’ handling of her sprawling racketeering indictment late last month, just 10 days after she brought charges against the former president and his 18 co-defendants alleging an expansive conspiracy to subvert his 2020 electoral defeat.

In his initial letter notifying her of the congressional probe, Jordan accused Willis of being politically motivated in her prosecution of Trump, deeming the indictment an attempt to interfere with the upcoming presidential election. The Republican representative asked whether she communicated or coordinated with the Department of Justice, which has indicted Trump in two other criminal cases including a parallel 2020 election case, and whether she used federal funding to carry out her years-long probe of the former president and his associates. He also gave Willis a Sept. 7 deadline to turn over any documents and communication related to the committee’s inquiry.

Willis fired back in a nine-page response on the day of the deadline, blasting Jordan for including “inaccurate information and misleading statements” and accusing the Ohio Republican of attempting to interfere with a state criminal matter while trying to punish her for his own political gain. “Your letter makes clear that you lack a basic understanding of the law, its practice and the ethical obligations of attorneys generally and prosecutors specifically,” Willis wrote to Jordan in her reply.

As she laid out the legal precedent and rebuttal to his arguments — which she wrote included the “notion that different standards of justice should apply to a select group of people” — and declared the committee’s investigation an “unjustified and illegal intrusion,” she asserted that the federal funding her office had been granted was used for its intended purposes and provided a spreadsheet summarizing the programs and initiatives the grants went toward.

In Wednesday’s letter, the committee chairman renewed his document request and extended Willis’ deadline to produce additional materials to Oct. 11, adding that the committee is willing to prioritize any records “reflecting the coordination between your office and the Department of Justice.”

He also endeavored to delineate five counterpoints to her response’s arguments to “assist Willis in understanding the relevant Constitutional and legal authorities of the Committee’s oversight,” according to the committee’s X post. The letter pushed back on her rejection of the request, arguing that the group has the constitutional authority to conduct oversight into her “apparently politically motivated prosecution,” that the inquiry pertains to a matter that could prompt legislation and that the probe “does not usurp executive powers.”

“If state or local prosecutors can engage in politically motivated prosecutions of senior federal officers for acts they performed while in federal office, this could have a profound impact on how federal officers choose to exercise their powers,” Jordan wrote in the letter, adding that, as demonstrated by the full Fulton County special grand jury report, Willis “contemplated an even more extensive intrusion into federal interests, targeting U.S. Senators—including the current Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee—for actions they undertook in their official capacities.”

Notably, Willis did not indict every individual recommended for charges by the Fulton County special grand jury. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and former Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, though overwhelmingly recommended by the jurors, were excluded from Willis’ indictment. 

Willis likely decided against charging them, legal experts offered at the time of the full report’s unsealing, to avoid murky Constitutional issues related to the lawmakers’ acting or speaking under an official capacity.

Indicting the senators “would have 1) potential constitutional hurdles and 2) would give folks like Jim Jordan a clear ‘hook’ to do what he’s doing now,” Asha Rangappa, a lawyer and former FBI special agent, tweeted earlier this month. 

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