House Republicans escalate feud with Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg over Trump probe
House Republicans are doubling down on their demands that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg turn over a trove of documents and communications related to the criminal probe into former President Donald Trump.
In an eight-page letter on Saturday, three Republican House committee chairmen said the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office failed to provide sufficient reasoning for declining to cooperate with the lawmakers’ initial request.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, wrote to Mr. Bragg on Monday seeking more than six years of communications related to the district attorney’s investigation into allegations that Mr. Trump paid $130,000 in hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The letter was co-signed by House Oversight and Accountability Committee James Comer, Kentucky Republican and Committee on House Administration Chairman Bryan Steil, Wisconsin Republican.
Leslie Dubeck, the general counsel in Mr. Bragg’s office, pushed back against the lawmakers’ request on Thursday calling the congressional probe “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.”
“The Letter 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,” she wrote in a letter to the lawmakers. “Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry,” she wrote.”
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The lawmakers fired back in their letter on Saturday, saying that contrary to the district attorney’s arguments, the prosecution of the former president exceeds state and local interests.
The lawmakers said if politically motivated prosecutions by local officials were to become the norm, it would have “a profound impact on how presidents choose to exercise their powers while in office.”
“Furthermore, your reported decision to indict a former President requires congressional scrutiny about how federal public safety funds appropriated by Congress are implemented by local law-enforcement agencies and how limited resources are prioritized,” the wrote.
Republicans believe Mr. Bragg is abusing his office to politically target Mr. Trump, who is now the leading 2024 Republican presidential candidate.
“Notably, your reply letter did not dispute the central allegations at issue—that you, under political pressure from left-wing activists and former prosecutors in your office are reportedly planning to use an alleged federal campaign finance violation, previously declined by federal prosecutors, as a vehicle to extend the statute of limitations on an otherwise misdemeanor offense and indict for the first time in history a former President of the United States,” the lawmakers wrote.
Republicans have increased their scrutiny of Mr. Bragg in anticipation of an impending indictment of the former president by a New York grand jury.
The grand jury is reportedly weighing charges of falsifying records to conceal the hush money payments.
Mr. Trump has denied the hush money charges and said he never had an affair with Ms. Daniels. Democrats largely support Mr. Bragg’s efforts to prosecute Mr. Trump.
The former president tweeted last week that his indictment and arrest would happen on Tuesday, and called on his supporters to “protest, protest, protest,” and “take our nation back.”
He has yet to be indicted.