by WorldTribune Staff, August 27, 2023
Less than three months before special prosecutor Jack Smith indicted former President Donald Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents, a top aide to Smith met with the Biden White House counsel’s office.
Jay Bratt, who joined Smith’s team shortly after it was formed in November 2022, attended a meeting in the White House on March 31, 2023, with Caroline Saba, deputy chief of staff for the White House counsel’s office, the New York Post reported on Saturday, citing White House visitor logs.
Bray and Saba were joined in the 10 a.m. meeting by Danielle Ray, an FBI agent in the Washington field office.
On June 8, 2023, nine weeks after the meeting, Trump was indicted by Smith’s office.
Critics charaged the meeting raises “serious concerns about coordinated legal efforts” aimed Trump, Joe Biden’s likely opponent in 2024.
“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 Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, a one-time top federal prosecutor in the Southern District.
The Post cited Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, as saying that Bratt was at the White House for a “case-related interview” but declined to comment further.
“There is no reason why the Justice Department should not be able to confirm whether this meeting was related to the ongoing investigation or concerns some other matter,” Giuliani said.
The FBI declined to comment.
Before a formal investigation was opened, Bratt met with Saba at the White House in November 2021, when Trump was in negotiations with the National Archives, which had called for the return of presidential records that were stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Saba, who is not an attorney, left the White House in May to attend law school.
Bratt had an earlier, third meeting in the White House in September 2021, this time with Katherine Reily, an advisor to the Biden chief of staff’s office.
The Harvard-educated Bratt is a longtime Washington insider, having served in the DOJ as chief of its counterintelligence and export control section in the national security division since October 2018. The section focuses on investigating and prosecuting cases affecting the national security and foreign relations of the United States.
It was in this capacity that Bratt visited Mar-a-Lago in June 2022 to inspect storage facilities at the property and personally interacted with Trump.
He later became a leading advocate for the unannounced FBI raid of the property in August of that year, The Washington Post reported.