Smith's top aide, Jay Bratt, who joined the special counsel team in November 2022 shortly after it was formed, met with Deputy Chief of Staff for the White House counsel's office Caroline Saba on March 31. This is just nine weeks before Trump was first indicted by Smith's office on June 8. (Related: Trump's "menacing" mugshot could elevate his 2024 presidential campaign which is already far ahead of other GOP candidates.)
Bratt and Saba were joined in their 10 a.m. meeting by Danielle Ray, an agent in the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The logs do not disclose what Bratt, Saba and Ray were discussing during their meeting.
This was also not the first time Bratt had a meeting in the White House. In November 2021, Bratt met with Saba at a time when the National Archives was negotiating with Trump for the return of presidential records from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida before a formal investigation had even been opened.
Before this, Bratt had a meeting in September 2021 with Katherine Reilley, an advisor to the White House chief of staff's office. The logs do not offer any information about what this meeting was about.
In a statement, Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, claimed that Bratt's most recent meeting at the White House was for a "case-related interview" but declined to comment any further.
One individual with knowledge of the most recent insisted to the New York Post that Bratt's meeting with Saba was "an interview of a career official who was also working at the White House during the Trump administration." This source further claimed that the 2021 visits were "national security related."
Critics and legal experts are asking why a member of the Department of Justice's special counsel's team would take meetings at the White House counsel's office while he is part of an active investigation into the leading Republican politician likely to face off with Biden in the 2024 election.
"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 prosecutor and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who added that he believes the special counsel and the White House were coordinating on Trump's prosecution.
"What's happening is they have trashed every ethical rule that exists and they have created a police state," said Giuliani. "It is a Biden state prosecutor and a Biden police state."
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, noted that the meeting between Bratt and Saba has some particularly troublesome implications and "raises obvious concerns about visits to the White House after [Bratt] began his work with the special counsel."
"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," Turley added.
Even Trump criticized the White House for Bratt's meeting with Saba, alleging that the Biden administration is colluding with prosecutors to imprison him.
"It has just been reported that aides to TRUMP prosecutor, Deranged Jack Smith, met with high officials at the White House just prior to these political SleazeBags [indicting] me OVER NOTHING," wrote Trump on the social media platform Truth Social. "If this is so, which it is, that means that Biden and his Fascist Thugs knew and APPROVED of this Country dividing Form of Election Interference, despite their insisting that they 'knew nothing.'"
Learn the latest news from the Trump indictment saga at Trump.news.
Watch this clip from "The Five" on Fox News as former Trump attorney Tim Parlatore discusses how Special Counsel Jack Smith has taken a "pretty careless" approach to the Trump indictment.