Stefanik hits DC judge linked to Trump case with ethics complaint

The No. 3 House Republican is calling for an ethics probe into a Washington, D.C., judge who has issued decisions in cases related to both former President Donald Trump and the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., lodged a misconduct complaint against DC District Judge Beryl Howell on Friday over a speech she gave in late November 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” and 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,” accusing Howell of claiming that “reelecting President Trump will lead to fascism in America.”

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“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. 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,” she wrote.

Howell was chief judge of the DC District Court from 2016 until March of this year. On her last day of the job, she turned over communications between Trump and his lawyer to Special Counsel Jack Smith in his investigation of the ex-president’s handling of classified documents, the Daily Beast reported in March. She also compelled the lawyer to testify before a grand jury.

She’s 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, who were also at the event.

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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.

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“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, perhaps Trump’s most vocal ally in Congress, previously filed an ethics complaint against New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron for his handling of a civil case brought against the ex-president and the Trump Organization by state Attorney General Letitia James.

She told Fox News Digital of the most recent misconduct notice, “DC 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.

Fox News Digital reached out to the DC court system for comment but did not immediately hear back.

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