Three House Republican committee chairmen are demanding documents from the New York prosecutor who is investigating former President Donald Trump’s payments to an adult actress.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan, House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer, and House Administration Committee chairman Bryan Steil are calling on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to provide all documents and communications involving his investigation into Trump, as well as sit for a transcribed interview. A New York grand jury is investigating Trump’s 2016 payments to Stormy Daniels, and the former president said Saturday that he expects to be arrested Tuesday, March 21.
“You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former President of the United States and current declared candidate for that office. This indictment comes after years of your office searching for a basis—any basis—on which to bring charges, ultimately settling on a novel legal theory untested anywhere in the country and one that federal authorities declined to pursue,” the lawmakers wrote.
#BREAKING: @Jim_Jordan, @RepJamesComer, and @RepBryanSteil Demand Communications, Documents, and Testimony from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. pic.twitter.com/OyIMgadaQN
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) March 20, 2023
Elected Republican officials and presidential candidates have defended Trump against the likely prosecution, highlighting liberal billionaire George Soros’ donations to Bragg. The Manhattan DA has also declined to prosecute numerous felonies, the Republicans have noted, while investigating Trump for allegedly falsifying business records, a misdemeanor.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy pledged action against Bragg on Sunday at the House Republican Conference retreat, telling reporters that he was speaking with Jordan about it. He later added that he does not believe people should protest an indictment. (RELATED: McCarthy Says Americans Should Not Protest If Trump Is Indicted)
“Your decision to pursue such a politically motivated prosecution—while adopting progressive criminal justice policies that allow career ‘criminals [to] run[ ] the streets’ of Manhattan—requires congressional scrutiny about how public safety funds appropriated by Congress are implemented by local law–enforcement agencies. In addition, your apparent decision to pursue criminal charges where federal authorities declined to do so requires oversight to inform potential legislative reforms about the delineation of prosecutorial authority between federal and local officials. Finally, because the circumstances of this matter stem, in part, from Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, Congress may consider legislative reforms to the authorities of special counsels and their relationships with other prosecuting entities,” the Republicans added.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, paid Daniels $130,000 days before the 2016 election as part of a non-disclosure agreement related to an affair. Daniels later violated the NDA and was ordered to pay Trump $300,000. Prosecutors reportedly believe that the payment violated New York law since Trump classified it as a “legal expense.”