Members of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are blasting Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg for refusing to cooperate with their requests for documents and testimony regarding his targeting of President Donald Trump.
Bragg refused to cooperate claiming that they were trying to interfere in a local investigation and he even had staff hang up on them, showing how political he can truly be.
But as House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) explained to CNN’s Jake Tapper this morning, it’s Bragg who is stepping over the line and outside his purview trying to investigate an alleged federal election crime that “has no business being litigated in a local district attorney’s office.” As we’ve noted in the past, both the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission decided not to take any action on the matter.
Yet suddenly, when Donald Trump is a declared candidate for president in 2024, you have Alvin Bragg trying to shoehorn in a case that’s essentially a federal case into his jurisdiction. It doesn’t work. Comer said he didn’t have the luxury of refusing to cooperate. Comer called it a “political stunt,” and said he believed that the statute of limitations had run on the matter. He said he didn’t believe the Manhattan DA would be doing it if Donald Trump wasn’t running for president, and the House GOP wanted to ask him if this is the reason he was doing it.
The House GOP ripped apart Bragg in a letter signed by the Comer, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), and House Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil, trouncing Bragg for his refusal. This paragraph is gold and it just dissects the heart of the matter.
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. Moreover, you are apparently attempting to upgrade a misdemeanor charge to a felony using an untested legal theory at the same time when you are simultaneously downgrading felony charges to misdemeanors in a majority of other cases in your jurisdiction.
In addition to noting the erroneous effort to shoehorn an alleged federal crime into a state prosecution, they also noted it had been rejected by the funds and that they had some federal oversight capacity to look into how federal funds were being expended and limited funds were being prioritized.
Even with downgrading more than half of your felony cases to misdemeanors, your office’s conviction rate when prosecuting serious felony charges was reported to be just 51 percent. Your misdemeanor conviction rate dropped sharply— from 53 percent to 28 percent. Your policies have allowed career “criminals [to] run[ ] the streets” of Manhattan13—creating such a danger that a judge in your district has taken notice.
Yet Bragg wants to go after Trump and upgrade his case?
The GOP chairs pointed out how going down the road that the Manhattan DA seems to want to go could have a “profound impact on how Presidents choose to exercise their powers while in office,” noting that a President “could choose to avoid taking action he believes to be in the national interest because it would negatively impact New York City for fear that he would be subject to a retaliatory prosecution in New York City.”
As a result, they said they now had to consider legislation that would “protect former and/or current Presidents from politically motivated prosecutions by state and local officials.”
The GOP is right on target with this one. There’s no other reason that one can come to for why this turkey of a case has been pulled back up out of the pit than to go after a political opponent who is running for President. That puts us in a very bad place if this is allowed. Of course, Bragg doesn’t want to comply, because he doesn’t want to answer any questions about how this all came about and if anyone is pulling the strings on this behind the scenes since he didn’t want to proceed with the case, to begin with. He probably doesn’t want to answer the question if there was anyone who pushed him down this road.
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