Speaker McCarthy accused DA Bragg of seeking to interfere in election with 'politicized charges' against Trump, vows congressional accountability

April 6, 2023
Ben Marquis

A number of House Republicans have taken great exception to what they view as a politically motivated prosecution and abuse of power by New York's Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against former President Donald Trump.

That includes House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who accused Bragg of "attempting to interfere in our democratic processes" by criminally indicting the front-running GOP presidential candidate, the Conservative Brief reported.

McCarthy also insisted that the clearly partisan prosecutor's "weaponization" of the judicial system for political purposes would result in him being "held accountable by Congress."

Speaker decries Bragg's "politicized charges" against Trump

Tuesday afternoon, following an arraignment hearing in a Manhattan courtroom in which DA Bragg unsealed the criminal indictment against former President Trump to reveal 34 counts of alleged falsification of business records in the first degree, a class E felony, Speaker McCarthy spoke out against what had occurred.

McCarthy tweeted, "Alvin Bragg is attempting to interfere in our democratic process by invoking federal law to bring politicized charges against President Trump, admittedly using federal funds, while at the same time arguing that the peoples’ representatives in Congress lack jurisdiction to investigate this farce."

"Not so. Bragg’s weaponization of the federal justice process will be held accountable by Congress," he added.

House committees will investigate the "outrageous abuse of power"

Just a few weeks prior to that, when it was still just media reports and rumors swirling about a possible indictment against Trump, McCarthy had similarly called out Bragg for abusing his power as a prosecutor and called upon relevant congressional committees to investigate the matter.

On March 18, McCarthy said in a tweet, "Here we go again -- an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump."

"I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions," the Speaker added at that time.

What can the House GOP actually do?

FiveThirtyEight reported that while several House committees -- specifically the Judiciary, Oversight, and Administration committees -- have been engaged in correspondence with DA Bragg's office and made several demands, the Democratic prosecutor has been resistant and refused to comply with requests to turn over certain documents or provide testimony.

That raises the question of what House Republicans can actually do to compel Bragg's cooperation, and the unfortunate truth is, not very much.

Subpoenas could be issued, but that's never been done before with regard to an active criminal investigation or prosecution, and it is unclear how subpoenas would be enforced if Bragg refused to comply. That could lead to a vote to hold Bragg in contempt of Congress and to issue a criminal referral, but that move would be reliant on President Joe Biden's Justice Department to take action, which seems incredibly unlikely. There could also be civil lawsuits or slashed federal funding, for whatever that would be worth.

Former assistant prosecutor to Bragg subpoenaed

That said, NBC News reported that the House Judiciary Committee led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) just subpoenaed Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan DA's office who resigned in protest last year due to Bragg not moving forward quickly enough with the prosecution of Trump.

Pomerantz had already rejected a request from the committee for a voluntary interview, so it remains to be seen if he will now comply with the congressional subpoena or force the committee to go to court to try and eventually force his compliance.

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