Bragg pushes back after GOP escalates oversight into Trump hush money case
District Attorney Alvin Bragg leaves the office of District Attorney, days after a message was posted on the Truth Social account of former U.S. President Donald Trump stating that he had expected to be arrested, and called on his supporters to protest, in New York City, March 22, 2023.
Amanda Perobelli | Reuters
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has dismissed another letter by three House Republican chairmen seeking more information related to the hush money probe that could lead to an indictment of former President Donald Trump.
In a letter to Bragg on Saturday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil argued that Congress should be privy to documents and testimony in the ongoing investigation into a $130,000 payment made during Trump’s 2016 campaign to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
“Contrary to the central argument set forth in your letter, this matter does not simply involve local or state interests,” the lawmakers wrote. “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, who had fired back last week at the Republicans for requesting his testimony before Congress about the investigation, pushed back again in a statement shared on Twitter Saturday evening
“We evaluate cases in our jurisdiction based on the facts, the law, and the evidence. It is not appropriate for Congress to interfere with pending local investigations,” Bragg wrote. “The unprecedented inquiry by federal elected officials into an ongoing matter serves only to hinder, disrupt and undermine the legitimate work of our dedicated prosecutors.”
The three Republican chairs had requested Bragg’s testimony in a letter last week. “You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former president of the United States and current declared candidate for that office,” they wrote Monday.
Their request came after Trump falsely predicted last weekend in a post to his social media platform Truth Social that he would be arrested Tuesday. A decision is still pending in the Manhattan grand jury probe.
The move marked the first investigatory action from the committees after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., vowed to scrutinize the people who have been investigating Trump.
The Manhattan DA’s office then slammed the Republicans on Thursday, arguing they had overstepped with their request. Leslie Dubeck, general counsel for the Manhattan DA’s office, called their request for Bragg’s testimony “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution,” which “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.”
Since then, Trump has escalated his attacks against Bragg and the probe, warning of “potential death and destruction” if the DA indicts him in a Truth Social post early Friday.
Later that day, two law enforcement sources told NBC News that the FBI and New York Police Department were investigating a letter containing a death threat and white powder mailed to Bragg’s office.