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Cami Mondeaux, Breaking News Reporter


NextImg:House Republicans hit back at Alvin Bragg's refusal to testify in Trump case

Top Republican leaders in the House fired back at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over his refusal to testify before Congress about his investigation into former President Donald Trump, giving the New York official until the end of the month to comply with their request.

In an eight-page letter sent to Bragg on Saturday, Republican lawmakers responded to the district attorney’s legal arguments that he said blocked him from providing information into the ongoing inquiry. The GOP leaders rejected those assertions, noting his cooperation was crucial to “protect former and/or current presidents from politically motivated prosecutions.”

ALVIN BRAGG SAYS TRUMP CREATED A ‘FALSE EXPECTATION’ THAT HE WOULD BE ARRESTED

“Notably, your reply letter did not dispute the central allegations at issue—that you, under political pressure from left-wing activists and former prosecutors in your office, are reportedly planning to use an alleged federal campaign finance violation, previously declined by federal prosecutors, as a vehicle to extend the statute of limitations on an otherwise misdemeanor offense and indict for the first time in history a former President of the United States,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter was signed by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY), and House Administration Chairman Bryan Steil (R-WI).

The GOP response laid out several arguments compelling Bragg to comply with their request for testimony and documents, rejecting the district attorney’s previous assertions that his investigation’s findings are confidential under state law.

The lawmakers argued that committees are authorized to conduct such an inquiry, citing House rules that specifically give the Judiciary Committee oversight of criminal justice matters in order to inform future legislation. Gathering information on Bragg’s case is essential to ensure local prosecutors cannot use their position to harm members of their opposite party, the lawmakers wrote.

“To begin with, as discussed above, Congress has a specific and manifestly important interest in preventing politically motivated prosecutions of current and former Presidents by elected state and local prosecutors,” the letter states. “Therefore, the 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.”

Bragg also rejected a congressional inquiry, citing the 10th Amendment that prohibits federal lawmakers from getting involved in matters that are meant to be left to the states. The GOP leaders pushed back on that argument, noting a case that seeks to indict a former president “implicates significant federal interests.”

“Needless to say, our oversight requests do no such thing; they would not block you from conducting any prosecution,” the trio wrote. “Rather, we are simply seeking information to carry out constitutional duties."

Jordan, Comer, and Steil concluded the letter with a reiterated request for testimony and investigative materials, giving Bragg until March 31 to comply. It’s not clear what consequences Bragg could face if he does not follow through with the request.

The revived request comes as Bragg is reportedly preparing to indict Trump sometime next week as part of an investigation into hush-money payments the former president made during his first presidential campaign in 2016. If pressed with charges, it would mark the first time a former president has been indicted in U.S. history. However, Trump has maintained he would continue his presidential campaign even if he is arrested and placed in prison.

It’s not yet clear what charges Trump may face, but reports of a possible indictment emerged earlier this month after his former attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before the Manhattan grand jury.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Cohen was convicted in 2018 after pleading guilty to paying two women who accused Trump of sexual affairs to be silent, including Stormy Daniels. As part of the scheme, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 and was later reimbursed by the Trump Organization.

Manhattan prosecutors later opened an investigation into whether Trump falsified business records to list the reimbursement as a legal expense. Such a crime is a misdemeanor in New York but could be increased to a felony if Bragg's office argues the fraud was intended to conceal a second crime.