Manhattan DA Says Trump Created ‘False Expectation of Arrest,’ Blasts Republicans for ‘Indefensible’ Attempt to Interfere With Investigation
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg responded to a letter from several Republican House Committee chairs demanding that he testify before Congress regarding his office’s investigation into former President Donald Trump with his own letter Thursday, accusing the ex-president of creating a “false expectation” he would be arrested and excoriating the Republicans for what he called an “unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty.”
Trump is being investigated over allegedly falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up an affair she says they had. Trump has loudly complained about the investigation, including posting that he expected to be arrested Tuesday and calling on his base to protest to show support for him.
The letter from House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) blasted Bragg for pursuing charges against Trump, which they claimed “will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the court of the 2024 presidential election.”
“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,” wrote Jordan.
Bragg rejected the request to testify in unequivocal terms in his letter, sent by email Thursday.
The investigation into Trump, wrote Bragg, “has been conducted consistently with the District Attorney’s oath to faithfully execute the laws of the State of New York,” but the Republicans’ letter was “an unprecedent[ed] inquiry into a pending local prosecution,” and “only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene. Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry.”
Bragg laid out the laws empowering his office to conduct prosecutions, the “quintessential police powers belonging to the State,” and accused the Republicans of “tread[ing] into territory very clearly reserved to the states,” with an “indefensible” Congressional inquiry that was being “conducted solely for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to punish those investigated.”
The DA noted his legal obligations “to protect the independence of state law enforcement functions from federal interference,” rejecting the call for him to publicly testify, and instead wrote to request “an opportunity to meet and confer with committee staff to better understand what information the DA’s Office can provide that relates to a legitimate legislative interest and can be shared consistent with the District Attorney’s constitutional obligations.”
The requests from House Republicans were “an unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty” and sought “non-public information about a pending criminal investigation, which is confidential under state law,” Bragg added, and which he had a “constitutional obligation” to protect. “That the investigation relates to a former President does not change this analysis.”
“[I]t is clear that Congress cannot have any legitimate legislative task relating to the oversight of local prosecutors enforcing state law,” Bragg emphasized, with the case law clear that “Congress is not the appropriate branch to review pending criminal matters.”
“We trust that you appreciate the importance of our federal system, state law enforcement activities, and the critical need to maintain the integrity and independence of state criminal law enforcement from federal interference,” Bragg concluded. “While the DA’s Office will not allow a Congressional investigation to impede the exercise of New York’s sovereign police power, this Office will always treat a fellow government entity with due respect. Therefore, again, we request a meet and confer to understand whether the Committee has any legitimate legislative purpose in the requested materials that could be accommodated without impeding those sovereign interests.”
Read the full letter from Bragg here.
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