The White House counsel’s office met with a top aide to Special Counsel Jack Smith just weeks before he brought charges against former President Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents — raising serious concerns about coordinated legal efforts aimed at President Biden’s likely opponent in 2024.
Jay Bratt, who joined the special counsel team in November 2022, shortly after it was formed, took a meeting in the White House on March 31, 2023, with Caroline Saba, deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office, White House visitor logs show.
They were joined in the 10 a.m. meeting by Danielle Ray, an FBI agent in the Washington field office.
Nine weeks later, Trump was indicted by Smith’s office on June 8, 2023.
Bratt, 63, also met with Saba at the White House in November 2021, when Trump was mired in negotiations with the National Archives, who were demanding the return of presidential records from his Mar-a-Lago estate before a formal investigation had not yet been opened.
Saba, who is not an attorney, left the White House in May to attend law school.
Bratt had a third meeting in the White House in September 2021, this time with Katherine Reily, an advisor to the White House chief of staff’s office.
The logs offer no information about what was discussed at the meetings.
Critics and legal experts questioned why Bratt was taking meetings at all with the White House counsel’s office while part of an active investigation into President Biden’s likely 2024 Republican opponent.
“There is no legitimate purpose for a line [DOJ] guy to be meeting with the White House except if it’s coordinated by the highest levels,” said former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a one-time top federal prosecutor in the Southern District.
When asked if he believed the White House and special counsel were coordinating the prosecution of Trump, Giuliani said: “You’re damn right I do.”
“What’s happening is they have trashed every ethical rule that exists and they have created a state police. It is a Biden state prosecutor and a Biden state police,” he continued.
The former mayor, who represented Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller’s 2018 probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, was indicted last week in Fulton County, Georgia in connection with attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said the March meeting was particularly troublesome and “raises obvious concerns about visits to the White House after [Bratt] began his work with the special counsel.” (Read more: New York Post, 8/26/2023) (Archive)