Top House Republicans blast Manhattan DA's refusal to testify about Trump probe
Bragg's office has refused to fully cooperate with a request for information from GOP Reps. Jim Jordan, James Comer and Bryan Steil.
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Top-ranking House Republicans criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's refusal to voluntarily testify or provide documents about his office's possible indictment of former President Donald Trump.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil responded Saturday to Bragg's office after the Democratic prosecutor refused to cooperate with the Republicans' inquiry into his probe of Trump's alleged role in a hush money payment given to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Bragg's general counsel, Leslie Dubeck, on Thursday gave the lawmakers several reasons why the district attorney could not cooperate with their request, citing that it was an "unprecedented[ed] inquiry into a pending local prosecution" and that the possible indictment of a former president is not "a legitimate basis for a congressional inquiry."
"Your conclusory claim that our constitutional oversight responsibilities will interfere with law enforcement is misplaced and unconvincing," the Republicans said to Bragg's office in an eight-page letter Saturday.
"Congress has a specific and manifestly important interest in preventing politically motivated prosecutions of current and former Presidents by elected state and local prosecutors, particularly those tried before elected state and local trial-level judges," the lawmakers wrote, also noting how Bragg's office did not dispute their claim that left-wing political pressure is playing a role in the prosecution of Trump.
The district attorney's office had said it could provide a letter about its use of federal funds but said the use of federal taxpayer dollars is not enough of a reason to follow the lawmakers' request. However, the Republicans on Saturday said Bragg's office is downgrading more than half of all felonies to misdemeanors, and yet the prosecutors' conviction rate for felonies is 51%.
"To the extent that you are receiving federal funds and are choosing to prioritize apparent political prosecutions over commonsense public safety measures, the Committee on the Judiciary certainly may consider legislation to tie federal funds to improved public safety metrics," the Republicans said.
The top GOP lawmakers wrote their original letter to Bragg early last week after Trump said he would be arrested in the Manhattan district attorney's investigation of him.