A former prosecutor who once oversaw the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigation into former President Donald Trump frustrated House Republicans Friday by saying repeatedly during a statement that he would not answer their questions about the prosecutor’s investigation.
Mark Pomerantz spent about six hours with members of the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the prosecution of Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
In his opening statement, obtained by NBC News, Pomerantz criticized the investigation as «political theater» and condemned the panel’s use of a subpoena to compel him to participate.
“This statement is for show,” Pomerantz said. “We are gathered here because supporters of Donald Trump would like to use these proceedings to try to obstruct and undermine the criminal case pending against him, and to harass, intimidate, and discredit anyone who investigates or indicts him.”
Pomerantz also said it would be inappropriate for him to provide information about an ongoing investigation.
«This is not the time or place for me to answer questions about the investigation or the pending indictment despite the objection of prosecutors.»
The Republicans were furious 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 have never had a more obstructive and less cooperative witness in my more than 20 years in Congress,” Issa said.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, similarly said the committee «wasn’t getting a lot of responses.»
Committee chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, did not elaborate on Pomerantz’s testimony, citing panel rules.
Asked if he learned anything new, Jordan replied, «I guess I was kind of surprised by some of the positions he took,» without providing details.
The House Judiciary Committee and Jordan did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.
Jordan subpoenaed Pomerantz for 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 final days of the 2016 presidential campaign. found not guilty of all charges.
Jordan said Pomerantz’s previous role as prosecutor in the investigation made him «uniquely positioned to provide information that is relevant and necessary» to the panel’s investigation into 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 investigation, claiming in a lawsuit that Jordan and the panel were waging an «unprecedented and brazen 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 misdeeds in a book published in February, but said Friday that doesn’t mean he’ll discuss it further given Trump’s subsequent impeachment.
“Although I have written and spoken publicly about the Trump investigation, I did so before criminal charges were filed 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 statement, Pomerantz told reporters: «I have nothing, absolutely nothing to say.»
When contacted for comment, Pomerantz’s attorneys referred NBC News to his statement before the committee.
Alexandra Cod, ryan nobles and kyle stewart contributed.