Home Covid-19 Former Manhattan prosecutor frustrates House Republicans at deposition on Trump case

Former Manhattan prosecutor frustrates House Republicans at deposition on Trump case

A former prosecutor who once oversaw the Manhattan District Attorney Office’s investigation into former President Donald Trump frustrated House Republicans on Friday by repeatedly saying during a deposition that he would not answer their questions about the DA’s probe.

Mark Pomerantz spent roughly six hours with members of the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s prosecution of Trump.

In a his opening statement, obtained by NBC News, Pomerantz blasted the inquiry as “political theater” and condemned the panel’s use of a subpoena to compel his participation.

“This deposition is for show,” Pomerantz said. “We are gathered here because Donald Trump’s supporters would like to use these proceedings to attempt to obstruct and undermine the criminal case pending against him, and to harass, intimidate, and discredit anyone who investigates or charges him.”

Pomerantz also said it would be improper for him to provide information about an ongoing investigation.

“This is neither the time nor place for me to answer questions about the investigation or the pending indictment over the objection of the prosecutors.”

Republicans fumed after the deposition.

Rep. Darrell Issa of California criticized what he called Pomerantz’s lack of cooperation. He told reporters that instead of answering questions, Pomerantz invoked his Fifth Amendment right.

“I’ve never had a more obstructive and less cooperative witness in my over 20 years in Congress,” Issa said.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., similarly said that the committee was “not getting many answers.”

Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, offered no details on Pomerantz’s testimony, citing panel rules.

Asked if he learned anything new, Jordan replied, “I guess in some ways, I was surprised at some of the positions he took,” without providing any specifics.

The House Judiciary Committee and Jordan did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

Jordan subpoenaed Pomerantz for his testimony in April, shortly after Trump was indicted on charges stemming from payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and another woman during the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Jordan said Pomerantz’s previous role as a prosecutor in the investigation made him “uniquely situated to provide information that is relevant and necessary” to the panel’s probe of Bragg’s prosecution of the former president. Pomerantz had abruptly resigned from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office last year.

Bragg initially sought to block elements of the Judiciary Committee’s inquiry, alleging in a lawsuit that Jordan and the panel were waging an “unprecedently brazen and unconstitutional attack” on his investigation of Trump and attempting to interfere with his prosecution.

After opposing the committee’s request for Pomerantz’s testimony, Bragg and Jordan reached an agreement last month that paved the way for Friday’s deposition.

Pomerantz previously wrote about his work investigating Trump’s alleged financial crimes in a book released in February, but said Friday that does not mean he’ll discuss it further given Trump’s subsequent indictment.

“Although I have written and spoken publicly about the Trump investigation, I did so before any criminal charges were brought against Mr. Trump,” Pomerantz said in his statement to the Judiciary Committee. “Now that a grand jury has indicted him, the circumstances have changed.”

After leaving the deposition Pomerantz told reporters, “I have nothing, nothing whatsoever to say.”

Reached for comment, Pomerantz’s attorneys referred NBC News to his statement before the committee.

Alexandra Bacallao, Ryan Nobles and Kyle Stewart contributed.

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