By Gary Bai
Two House Republican lawmakers on Dec. 5 launched an inquiry into what they allege was collusion between Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor who brought a criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump, and the congressional committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced in a press release on Tuesday that he and Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) “recently” learned Ms. Willis’s office “coordinated its investigative actions” with the Jan. 6 House Select Committee, prompting them to launch an inquiry into Ms. Willis’s criminal investigation of President Trump that the lawmakers allege is politically motivated.
At issue was a Dec. 17, 2021, letter that Ms. Willis sent to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Chairman of the Jan. 6 Committee, in which Ms. Willis requested access to congressional records relevant to her criminal investigation of the former president, the lawmakers wrote in the press release.
“As you may be aware, I am conducting a criminal investigation of possible attempts to illegally interfere with the administration of Georgia’s 2020 General election,” reads the 2021 letter penned by Ms. Willis and addressed to Mr. Thompson. “Through news reports, we are aware that your committee has interviewed witnesses relevant to our investigation. We understand from the same reports that your committee’s investigators may have collected records relevant to our investigation.”
Stating that his office is concerned about this appearance of collusion, Mr. Jordan on Monday sent a letter to Ms. Willis to demand communications between her office and the Jan. 6 Committee, and documents related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach that the two investigative bodies had exchanged.
“The partisan January 6 Select Committee had a troubling track record of procedural abuses and due process violations. It only solicited evidence from a select set of relevant individuals, ignored exculpatory evidence, and did not pursue witnesses with evidence that would not advance its partisan narrative,” reads the Dec. 5 letter, signed by Mr. Jordan and addressed to Ms. Willis.
That Ms. Willis’s office appears to be coordinating with the “partisan” Jan. 6 Committee, the lawmaker wrote, “raises questions about Willis’ and Thompson’s commitment to due process and whether they have fulfilled their obligations to properly disclose this material.”
Mr. Loudermilk sent a separate letter the same day to Mr. Thompson asking for similar material, and alleged that Mr. Thompson might have violated House rules by failing to preserve “documents relevant to official business” of the House.
Ms. Willis’s office did not respond to a press inquiry from The Epoch Times by the time of publication.
Mr. Jordan’s announcement echoes a concern raised by some congressional Republicans that political bias overshadows the four criminal prosecutions against President Trump. That includes Ms. Willis’s criminal indictment of President Trump and 18 other individuals, in which she alleged that they conspired to overturn the 2020 election, violating the state’s “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” (RICO) Act, among other charges, including making false statements and criminal solicitation of state officials.
President Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the case and has alleged that Ms. Willis, an elected Democrat, has political motives in targeting him.
The lawmakers’ Monday inquiry came three months after Mr. Jordan launched a separate investigation that also questioned whether Ms. Willis’s investigation of the 45th President is politically motivated, and sought evidence coordination between offices of Ms. Willis and special counsel Jack Smith, who’s heading two federal criminal indictments of President Trump. In Monday’s letter, the lawmaker wrote that Ms. Willis did not turn over the requested materials.
Alleged Prosecutorial Misconduct
Monday’s congressional inquiry was not the first time that Ms. Willis’s professional conduct came under scrutiny.
In a July court filing that sought to quash the investigation, President Trump’s lawyers recalled how Ms. Willis had appeared on national media talking about the case and appeared to gain personal benefit from the publicity associated with the case; they argued that Ms. Willis must be disqualified from the case.
“The Fulton County District Attorney’s media interviews violate prosecutorial standards and constitute forensic misconduct, and her social media activity creates the appearance of impropriety compounding the necessity for disqualification,” Drew Findling, a former attorney of President Trump, wrote in the March 20 filing (pdf), noting that Ms. Willis spoke to the press nearly 40 times.
Mr. Findling also argued that Ms. Willis’s Office must be disqualified from pursuing the case due to a conflict of interest, citing her social media posts, which the attorney said bolstered her profile as a political candidate.
One such social media post, the filing said, included a cartoon posted on Ms. Willis’s campaign Twitter account, which showed the district attorney fishing a subpoenaed witness, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), out of a swamp, with President Trump saying, “I know you’ll do the right thing, Lindsey.”
That cartoon, Findling noted, was part of a political campaign that was threaded throughout Willis’s Georgia investigation, one in which Willis had “personal involvement and interest,” creating a “disqualifying conflict.”
“The Fulton County District Attorney’s promoted her own campaign on the shoulders of partisan support for this special purpose grand jury investigation. Within a couple of days, The Fulton County District Attorney’s Twitter account increased by approximately 100,000 followers, and requests for campaign donations were retweeted thousands of times,” the filing reads, referring to the alleged effect of Ms. Willis’s publicity campaign. “On at least three occasions, The Fulton County District Attorney’s personally inserted herself into this Twitter campaign for ‘followers, tweets and donations’ which specifically referenced this investigation.”
The filing also notes that Ms. Willis was hosting a fundraiser for Charlie Bailey, then a candidate for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, who would run against a witness in the case that Ms. Willis proposed to call, State Sen. Burt Jones, the then-Republican nomination.
Judge McBurney, who oversaw the one-year special grand jury investigation that recommended the indictment against President Trump, reprimanded Ms. Willis and indicated that her conduct related to the fundraiser could be “problematic.”
“Using the title of your office and having on social media that you as this political office holder are holding a fundraiser for the opponent of someone that this political office is investigating, I don’t know that it’s an actual conflict, but I use that phrase: ‘What were you thinking?’” Judge McBurney said of the incident in a hearing in July.
“The optics are horrific,” the judge added.
Judge Robert McBurney rejected the March filing to quash the investigation in July for a lack of standing.