Editor’s note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM Radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show.” follow him @DeanObeidallah@masto.ai. The opinions expressed in this comment are his own. Scenery More opinion on CNN.
The GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee — chaired by Representative Jim Jordan, an ally of Donald Trump — is scheduled to hold a field hearing in New York City titled “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan” on Monday. The Judiciary Committee says a statement deeming the hearing as an examination of how Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s policies “have led to an increase in violent crime and the creation of a dangerous community for New York City residents.”
In response, Bragg’s office slammed Jordan’s hearing as a “political stunt” while noting that data from the New York Police Department shows lower crime in Manhattan for murders, robberies, robberies and more through April 2, compared to the same period last year. .
In fact, this Jordan-led hearing is not about stopping crime but rather defending Trump — who was recently indicted on 34 felonies by a Manhattan grand jury. Trump has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges stemming from an investigation into payments to an adult film actress. The former president also faces criminal investigations in other jurisdictions over efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents in Mar-a-Lago.
Bragg sued Jordan and his committee last week in federal court, accusing the Judiciary Committee chairman of a “transparent campaign to intimidate and attack” his office over his investigation and prosecution of Trump by demanding classified documents and testimony.
While Jordan and his committee seem focused on discrediting the Trump investigation, why not dig into two recent bombshell reports by ProPublica that raised red flags about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ financial relationship with Republican behemoth Harlan Crowe? After all, the House Judiciary Committee’s website makes it clear that it has jurisdiction over “questions relating to the administration of justice in the federal courts” — which fits perfectly with revelations about Thomas.
First, we learned in early April that for decades Crowe had provided Thomas and his wife, Jenny, with luxury vacations including on a donor’s yacht and private jet to as far afield as Indonesia and New Zealand. This information has not been disclosed to the public. (In a rare public statement, Thomas responded that he had been advised at the time that he did not have to report on trips. The guidelines for reporting personal hospitality had recently changed, Justice said. Follow that guidance in the future.)
Then on Thursday, ProPublica reported that Thomas failed to disclose a 2014 real estate transaction involving the sale of three properties he and his family owned in Savannah, Georgia, to the same GOP giant, Crow. One Crow company made $133,363 in purchases, according to ProPublica. A federal disclosure law passed after Watergate requires Supreme Court justices and other officials to make public details of most real estate sales over $1,000.
As ProPublica detailed, the federal disclosure form Thomas filed for that year included a space for reporting the identity of the purchaser in any private transaction, but Thomas left that space blank. Four ethics law experts told ProPublica that Thomas’ failure to report this appears to be a violation of the law. (Thomas did not respond to questions from ProPublica about its report; CNN has reached out to the Supreme Court and Thomas for comment.)
The House Judiciary Committee has long addressed issues like the one surrounding Thomas. In fact, the commission is often where investigations and removals of federal judges begin.
One recent example came in 2010 with Judge J. Thomas Porteous Jr., whom the committee investigated and recommended for impeachment.
The committee’s Judicial Accountability Task Force said the evidence showed Porteous “knowingly made false material statements and affidavits under penalty of perjury, participated in a corrupt bribery scheme, solicited and accepted illegal gifts, and willfully misled the Senate during confirmation proceedings.” The Senate later found Porteous guilty of four articles of impeachment and removed him from the bench.
However, the Judicial Committee did not issue statements nor Tweets It rings alarm bells for Thomas. Instead, his Twitter feed is filled with Frequent tweets moan it C-SPAN will not be covered The field hearing in New York on Monday. Even worse, the committee retweeted the GOP Rep. Mary Miller’s tweet Thomas’ defense that he was being attacked “because he is a man of deep faith who loves our country and believes in our Constitution.”
Jordan’s use of his committee to help Trump should surprise no one. The House Committee’s January 6 report called the Ohio Republican an “important player in President Trump’s efforts” to overturn the election. The report provided details of the lawmaker’s efforts to help Trump, including on “January 2, 2021, Rep. Jordan led a conference call during which he, President Trump, and other members of Congress discussed strategies for adjourning the January 6 joint session.” As a result, the Jan. 6 commission called Jordan to testify—but he refused to cooperate.
Unlike the House committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee—chaired by Democrats—announced in the wake of the report on Thomas that it planned to hold a hearing “on the need to restore confidence in the moral standards of the Supreme Court.” Moreover, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia sent a letter on Friday calling for Thomas to be referred to the US Attorney General for “potential violations of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.”
The House Judiciary Committee’s website notes, “The Judiciary Committee has been called House Counsel.” Under Jordan, that description should be updated to state that the Judiciary Committee is now “Donald J. Trump’s Attorney.” And worst of all, it is the taxpayers who are paying for Jordan to work on Trump’s behalf.