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The Hill
The Hill
25 Mar 2023
Julia Shapero

NextImg:House Republicans rebuke Bragg’s ‘unavailing’ refusal to provide testimony on Trump probe

House Republican leaders on Saturday rebuked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s (D) refusal to testify about his investigation into former President Trump’s role in a 2016 hush money payment.

The letter — from House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), House Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) and House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) — comes in response to Bragg’s accusation on Thursday that their request was an “unlawful incursion” on his investigation.

“Your conclusory claim that our constitutional oversight responsibilities will interfere with law enforcement is misplaced and unconvincing,” the trio of Republican lawmakers said in their eight-page letter

“As a threshold matter, whether your office is, in fact, fairly enforcing the law or abusing prosecutorial discretion to engage in a politically motivated indictment of a former President is a serious matter that … implicates significant federal interests,” the group added.

The GOP lawmakers’ request for Bragg’s testimony came in response to Trump’s claim last weekend that he could be arrested in the Manhattan probe as soon as Tuesday.

The Manhattan district attorney has appeared to be nearing an indictment in the probe, which is investigating a $130,000 payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged affair with Trump ahead of the 2016 election.

Despite Trump’s warnings, Bragg has yet to make an official decision on whether to charge the former president, and the Manhattan grand jury assembled in the case ultimately did not meet on the issue this week.

In his five-page response to the GOP lawmakers, Bragg said their requests would interfere with ongoing law enforcement duties, violate state sovereignty and represent an inappropriate use of congressional power. 

However, he did offer to “meet and confer to understand whether the Committee has any legitimate legislative purpose in the requested materials that could be accommodated.”

The Republican committee chairmen defended the legislative purpose of their requests in Saturday’s letter, claiming that it was in the service of potential legislation.

“[T]he Committee on the Judiciary, as a part of its broad authority to develop criminal justice legislation, must now consider whether to draft legislation that would, if enacted, insulate current and former presidents from such improper state and local prosecutions,” they wrote.

The lawmakers also dismissed Bragg’s assertion that their requests represent an “unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty,” claiming that the issue “involves substantial federal interests.” 

On the Manhattan district attorney’s accusations that they were usurping executive branch powers, they argued that the courts have recognized Congress’ “broad authority to conduct oversight of ongoing civil and criminal investigations.”