Jan 30, 2023 - Politics & Policy

The House freshman angling to be Democrats' star prosecutor

Daniel Goldman

Dan Goldman during the first Trump impeachment inquiry. Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) wants to be House Democrats' top cop, telling Axios he's prepared and willing to grapple with the biggest Republican names in Congress — including in potential impeachment proceedings.

Why it matters: With Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and the 20 rebels who held up the House speaker election, Republicans have more than their fair share of prominent provocateurs.

  • Democrats, newly in the minority and looking to blunt GOP investigations into the Biden administration, are seeking counterweights to those big personalities.

Driving the news: The former prosecutor and impeachment lawyer has emerged as an unusually visible freshman in his first few weeks on the job, including by leading a campaign against Santos for the sweeping fabrications in his resume.

  • In addition to filing a complaint against Santos to the Ethics Committee, Goldman and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) have introduced legislation — called the SANTOS Act — to require congressional candidates to disclose more background information.
  • "Part of the reason that I have been leading the effort to hold George Santos accountable is that he resembles so many of the fraud defendants that I had in my 10 years as a prosecutor," Goldman told Axios in an interview in his Capitol office.

What to watch: Goldman has been placed on two high-profile committees, Oversight and Homeland Security, that could be at the center of some of the most highly charged probes this year.

  • The freshman Democrat told Axios his policing of his Republican colleagues may not stop with Santos. "Where appropriate, I certainly will not hesitate to speak out," he said.
  • Goldman cautioned, however, that he wants to avoid "over-engagement" with members like Greene, who will also serve on Oversight and Homeland Security: "We need to be careful about not giving her outlandish conspiracy theories any oxygen."
  • Goldman also expressed confidence he can rival the attention-grabbing antics of his GOP counterparts: "I'm not worried that the far-right Republicans are going to be playing at a higher level. ... We certainly recognize that it is not simply investigations, it's also messaging, and we'll be prepared."

The intrigue: Goldman, who served as chief counsel to Democrats during the first impeachment of former President Trump, is not on the Judiciary Committee, where impeachment proceedings against Biden and any of his officials would begin.

  • But given that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is the most likely target for a GOP-led impeachment, Goldman could carve out a role through his involvement in the Homeland Security Committee's border-policy probes.
  • "I would love to use my expertise ... in whatever way can be helpful," Goldman told Axios. "It is an expertise that has very little relevance outside of this one particular place."

What they're saying: "There is nobody you want in the trenches with you more than Dan Goldman," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the former House Intelligence Committee chair who worked closely with Goldman during the impeachment saga, said in a statement.

  • "With Republicans set to overreach, and overreach in a major way, Dan has all the skills needed to set the record straight and will be a real asset to our caucus."
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