House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has just fired a shot at an Obama-appointed judge overseeing cases related to President Donald Trump and Jan. 6.
The No. 3 House Republican has filed an ethics complaint against Washington D.C. District Judge Beryl Howell.
Stefanik is calling for an ethics probe into the judge over alleged misconduct.
The congresswoman lodged a misconduct complaint against Howell on Friday over a speech she gave in late November.
🚨🚨🚨 I filed a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct against Judge Beryl Howell, because election interference by judges destroys public confidence in the federal judiciary, tears apart the fabric of our Republic, and is illegal. It must end now.
DC Obama Judge Beryl Howell gave a… pic.twitter.com/LBBDmK5CXb
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) December 15, 2023
The judge gave the speech while accepting an award from the Women’s White Collar Defense Association.
Without using Trump’s name, Howell blamed the violence at the Capitol on “big lies.”
She also warned of “a very surprising and downright troubling moment in this country when the very importance of facts is dismissed, or ignored.”
Stefanik called the speech “highly inappropriate.”
The top GOP lawmaker is accusing Howell of claiming that “re-electing President Trump will lead to fascism in America.”
“As outlined in detail below, Judge Howell’s partisan speech is obviously highly inappropriate election interference by a federal judge that undermines the public’s trust in our courts,” she wrote.
“Moreover, the public display of the cozy personal relationships between Judge Howell and her partisan friends who appear before her undermines public trust in judicial independence.”
Howell was chief judge of the DC District Court from 2016 until March of this year and was appointed to the position by former President Barack Obama.
On her last day on the job, she turned over communications between Trump and his lawyer to Special Counsel Jack Smith.
The move helped Smith in his investigation of Trump’s handling of classified documents, the Daily Beast reported in March.
She also compelled the lawyer to testify before a grand jury.
She has also criticized federal prosecutors for being too lenient in sentencing recommendations for Jan. 6 protesters.
In her letter, Stefanik pointed to Howell’s relationships with Obama-era Attorney General Loretta Lynch and current Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Both Lynch and Monaco were also at the event during the speech in question.
Lynch had praised Howell for her handling of “the COVID-19 pandemic that closed the world, the January 6th insurrection and the resulting caseload, and the flurry of activity spurred by the Office of Special Counsel.”
“It’s particularly shocking to hear the former Attorney General of the United States praise a sitting federal judge for her handling of the grand-jury proceedings on pending federal criminal charges against a defendant (President Trump), the pending criminal cases against his January 6 supporters, and even make the legal conclusion that an ‘insurrection’ occurred on January 6–despite the fact even the over-the-top Biden Special Counsel Jack Smith never brought such charges against any January 6 defendant,” Stefanik wrote.
Howell also praised Monaco, who oversees Jan. 6 prosecutors in her role, in her speech – a fact Stefanik seized on in her letter to the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit.
“I’ve been in awe of how you remain a model of calm and grace when carrying enormous responsibility for the safety of so many,” the judge said of Monaco.
Stefanik wrote, “Judge Howell’s 16 minutes of substantive remarks had little to do with women representing white-collar criminal defendants – and they were hardly apolitical, let alone politically neutral.”
Stefanik, one of Trump’s most vocal allies in Congress, previously filed an ethics complaint against New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron.
The case was over Engoron’s handling of a civil case brought against the 45th president and the Trump Organization by state New York Attorney General Letitia James.
In a statement, Stefanik said of the most recent misconduct notice:
“D.C. Obama Judge Beryl Howell gave a highly inappropriate speech in which she insinuated the election of President Trump will lead to fascism in America.
“She also inappropriately allowed a public display of her cozy personal relationships with her partisan friends who appear before her, including the Biden Deputy Attorney General who supervises the January 6 criminal prosecutions,” she said.