White House quietly poaches DOJ lawyer from Trump classified documents investigation

Donald Trump Jack Smith

White House quietly poaches DOJ lawyer from Trump classified documents investigation

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The White House has quietly hired a senior attorney who worked on the Justice Department’s heavily scrutinized investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents, the Washington Examiner confirmed.

Sophia Brill, a former top lawyer for Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) who went on to be senior counsel in the National Security Division in President Joe Biden’s DOJ in 2021, took a role as associate counsel at the White House in April. Brill’s “portfolio does not involve any matters” related to DOJ special counsel Jack Smith’s Trump inquiry, and she “works on civil rights issues,” White House spokesman Ian Sams told the Washington Examiner.


The hiring is likely to lead to Republican lawmakers and right-leaning advocacy groups raising further concerns over the Biden administration’s handling of the Trump investigation, which stemmed from the FBI’s August 2022 search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida. Brill has been listed on court documents in connection to the DOJ-Trump case, which Trump and his allies have equated to a “witch hunt.”

“Sophia Brill is a Democrat operative who served as a political appointee to several Senate Democrats before joining Garland’s investigation against Trump,” Mike Davis, ex-chief counsel for nominations to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and president of the Article III Project, a conservative judiciary group, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s very clear that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s investigation of Trump has been political from Day One.”

Smith’s special counsel investigation into Trump is “wrapping up,” and the DOJ may soon move toward an indictment of the former president, according to multiple reports. While Garland has the power to reject charging recommendations from his selected prosecutor, Smith’s decision will be “independent,” Garland said in November 2022 upon tapping Smith, who previously was a war crimes prosecutor and head of the department’s public integrity unit.

Brill, who was counsel to the House Judiciary Committee from 2019 to 2020 and special counsel for Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in 2018, updated her LinkedIn account recently to reflect her new White House counsel role. Between 2014 and 2017, she was an attorney-adviser for the National Security Division in President Barack Obama’s DOJ, according to her LinkedIn account.

“Joe Biden’s Administration is running a coordinated assault against their top opponent in the next election,” Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for Make America Great Again Inc., a pro-Trump super PAC, told the Washington Examiner. “Americans want a government that works for them, not one that is weaponized to take out Donald Trump — Joe Biden and the Democrats will pay for this in November 2024.”

Meanwhile, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) demanded on Tuesday that Garland turn over an unredacted version of the DOJ’s scope memo involving Smith’s investigation. He also asked the attorney general to provide a memo on special counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents, which were found at Biden’s home and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a University of Pennsylvania-housed think tank, from November 2022 to January 2023.


“The Committee on the Judiciary is continuing to investigate the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) unprecedented raid of President Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022,” Jordan wrote in his letter. “We previously requested information and documents related to the FBI’s raid on President Trump’s residence and its subsequent investigation.”

The Justice Department’s Special Counsel office declined a request for comment.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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