Manhattan DA Responds to Demands From House Republicans Investigating Trump Case
Many conservatives have criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for moving to indict former President Donald Trump on felony charges regarding falsified business records and paying “hush money” to conceal a sexual encounter in 2006.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Bragg is a “Soros-funded prosecutor” who is “pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing [his] office.”
Sen. Rand Paul said that Bragg should be “put in jail.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy asserted that Bragg was abusing his power and exercising gross political bias in moving to indict a man he views as a political enemy.
After considering the weak evidence in the case, how two courts have already dismissed the case and how Bragg’s two key witnesses, Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, are not credible, McCarthy established an investigative committee to look into the matter.
The powerful subcommittee will investigate the financial aspect of Bragg’s case against Trump and hold Bragg accountable for misconduct. The move reportedly infuriated Bragg, whose disappointing week included reports of turmoil in his office, devastating testimony undermining his case on Tuesday and canceled grand jury meetings on Wednesday.
With grand jury testimony canceled again on Thursday, Bragg’s office took the opportunity to push back against McCarthy’s announced investigation, saying that Congress lacked a “legitimate basis” for their inquiry.
Leslie Dubeck, the in-house general counsel for Bragg, said McCarthy’s call for the district attorney’s communications, documents and testimony is “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.”
The congressional investigation, complained Dubeck, is “an unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty. Congress’s investigative jurisdiction is derived from and limited by its power to legislate concerning federal matters.”
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil (R-WI) disagreed and sent a demand letter to Bragg.
The letter reportedly demanded the documents and noted Bragg’s “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former President of the United States and current declared candidate for that office.”
Trump reported that “illegal leaks” indicated Bragg’s office would issue an arrest warrant on Tuesday. Concerned citizens reported observing officers putting up barriers in New York City and Washington, D.C., reportedly anticipating civil unrest if the grand jury issues an indictment.
Dubeck complained to congressional leaders that their decision to investigate the district attorney “only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene.”
Bragg’s attorney added: “Neither fact is a legitimate basis for a congressional inquiry.”
Dubeck vowed that Bragg’s team “will not allow a Congressional investigation to impede the exercise of New York’s sovereign police power” but stipulated that his office “will always treat a fellow government entity with due respect.”
Dubeck appeared to seek to stop a congressional inquiry by suggesting that representatives from Bragg’s team “meet and confer [with the congressional subcommittee] to understand whether the Committee has any legitimate legislative purpose in the requested materials that could be accommodated without impeding those sovereign interests.”
Jordan, chairman of the investigative subcommittee, appears unwilling to accept Dubeck’s proposal to meet. On Wednesday evening Jordan announced he was expanding his probe of Bragg’s conduct and had sent inquiries to Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz, prosecutors who formally worked with Bragg.
Jordan tweeted: “Alvin Bragg should focus on prosecuting actual criminals in New York City rather than harassing a political opponent in another state.”