Members of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees rebuked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in a letter Saturday for refusing to cooperate with their probe into the Stormy Daniels hush money case hes pursuing against former President Donald Trump.
In the latest correspondence, the committee, led by Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, blasted Braggs March 23 letter, in which he declined the committees request that he hand over documents and testify about what they called an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.
Bragg responded that the committee had no basis for a congressional inquiry as he was constitutionally obligated to protect the enforcement of state laws free from federal interference and accused them of acting on Trumps behalf.
Contrary to the central argument set forth in your letter, this matter does not simply involve local or state interests, the committee shot back on Saturday. Rather, the potential criminal indictment of a former President of the United States by an elected local prosecutor of the opposing political party (and who will face the prospect of re-election) implicates substantial federal interests, particularly in a jurisdiction where trial-level judges also are popularly elected. Bragg was blasted for not cooperating with Congress’ investigation on Trump. Bloomberg via Getty Images
The signatories Jordan, Bryan Steil (R-Wisconsin), James Comer (R-Tenn) argued that prosecuting a former president could affect how a sitting president exercises his powers.
For example, a President could choose to avoid taking action he believes to be in the national interest because it would negatively impact New York City for fear that he would be subject to a retaliatory prosecution in New York City, the lawmakers wrote. see also 2024 presidential election Trump could run for president from prison it’s happened before
The chairmen said Congress must now consider legislation that would protect former and/or current Presidents from politically motivated prosecutions by state and local officials.
“Critically, due to your own actions, you are now in possession of information critical to this inquiry,” the letter said.
In response to the new letter, Bragg stood by his decision to not cooperate Saturday.
It is not appropriate for Congress to interfere with pending local investigations, a spokesperson for Braggs office told The Post in a statement.
This unprecedented inquiry by federal elected officials into an ongoing matter serves only to hinder, disrupt and undermine the legitimate work of our dedicated prosecutors. As always, we will continue to follow the facts and be guided by the rule of law in everything we do. James Comer argued that prosecuting a former president could affect how a sitting president exercises his powers.Bloomberg via Getty Images
Braggs office has been presenting evidence against Trump to a grand jury since late January in connection with a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
The payment was made shortly before the 2016 election from then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to keep quiet about her alleged affair with the former president in 2006 which Trump has repeatedly denied. Keep up with today's most important news
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Prosecutors are reportedly trying to prove that Trump provided the funds and then falsified business records by writing off Cohens reimbursement for the Daniels payment as legal fees.
Although that would amount to a misdemeanor under state law, Bragg is reportedly pursuing a novel legal theory that would make it a felony on grounds that the records were falsified in connection with the violation of federal campaign finance rules .
The committee fumed that Braggs response letter did not dispute that he was reportedly attempting to upgrade a misdemeanor charge to a felony using an untested legal theory at the same time when you are simultaneously downgrading felony charges to misdemeanors in a majority of other cases in your jurisdiction.
The back-and-forth began on Monday, when the GOP House members first demanded Bragg hand over all testimony, communications and information that involves the DAs Office, the Justice Department, and any other law enforcement agencies in their politically motivated investigation into Trump. Rep. Bryan Steil was among the congressmen who signed onto the letter. CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
The committee members also asked for records pertaining to two former DAs office employees Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz who led the investigation into DAs Trump investigation until they quit last year after Bragg reportedly expressed doubts about moving forward with the case.
In a response on Wednesday, Braggs general counsel, Leslie Dubeck, requested a meeting with the chairmen to understand whether the Committee has any legitimate legislative purpose in the requested materials.
While the DAs Office will not allow a Congressional investigation to impede the exercise of New Yorks sovereign police power, this Office will always treat a fellow government entity with due respect, Dubeck wrote.