House GOP committee heads demand testimony from Manhattan DA over reports of impending Trump indictment

March 21, 2023
Ben Marquis

Rumors swirled over the weekend that Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would soon indict and arrest and prosecute former President Donald Trump on what are reportedly rather flimsy charges that prior prosecutors had previously considered and dropped.

Now three top House Republican committee chairs have sent a letter to DA Bragg that not only demanded answers about the apparent "politically motivated prosecutorial decision" but also requested his sworn testimony o the matter in a "transcribed interview," the Western Journal reported.

Manhattan DA reportedly set to indict Trump

According to multiple reports, DA Bragg is set to pursue a "novel and untested legal theory" to prosecute former President Trump over the $130,000 in "hush money" he paid former porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to keep her quiet about an alleged affair years earlier.

At the center of the effort is a state-level misdemeanor charge for falsifying business records, in relation to how the payment was expensed, which Bragg seeks to elevate to a felony by tying it to an alleged federal campaign finance law violation.

Notably, Bragg's predecessor in the DA's office had declined to go after Trump directly over the "hush money" payment, and federal prosecutors had also decided against pursuing the alleged campaign finance law violation, with both instead going after Trump's formal personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who facilitated the payment and later lied to investigators and Congress about it.

An "unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority"

On Monday, a joint letter was sent to DA Bragg by the GOP chairs of three major House committees -- Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) of the Judiciary Committee, James Comer (R-KY) of the Oversight Committee, and Bryan Stiel (R-WI) of the Administration Committee.

"You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former President of the United States and currently declared candidate for that office," the three chairmen wrote. "This indictment comes after years of your office searching for a basis -- any basis -- on which to bring charges, ultimately settling on a novel legal theory untested anywhere in the country and one that federal authorities declined to pursue."

"If these reports are accurate, your actions will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the course of the 2024 presidential election," the letter continued. "In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision."

Major problems with legal theory and star witness

The letter from the three House GOP chairmen proceeded to highlight the doubts and skepticism expressed by legal experts and the media about DA Bragg's "tenuous and untested" legal theory that had previously been rejected at both the state and federal levels by other prosecutors.

It also pointed out the distinct lack of credibility for Bragg's star witness, Michael Cohen, who is "a convicted perjurer with a demonstrable prejudice against President Trump."

It also took note of the apparent "political calculations" behind the purportedly imminent indictment, such as the sharp criticism Bragg had received from two former prosecutors who quit in protest of an initial decision to not pursue the case and have quite vocal in their complaints about Bragg's inaction in that regard.

Demand for documents and testimony prior to March 23

As for the necessary "legislative purpose" that congressional committees need to conduct such inquiries, the letter cited issues like how "public safety funds" are appropriated and used, potential reforms with regard to "prosecutorial authority between federal and local officials," and, given an initial connection in 2018 to then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, possible "legislative reforms to the authorities of special counsels and their relationships with other prosecuting entities."

In the end, the lawmakers demanded that Bragg turn over "all documents and communications" relevant to the case and requested that he "testify in a transcribed interview about these matters as soon as possible," but no later than March 23.

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