Members of the Congressional GOP have reached out to New York City District Attorney Alvin Bragg to demand communcations, documents, and testimony that Bragg is allegedly planning to use to indict former President Donald Trump.
The letter from Reps. Jim Jordan, James Comer, and Bryan Steil demands that Bragg account for these reports.
“You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority,” the letter begins, “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.
“If these reports are accurate,” it continues, “your actions will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the course 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.”
Trump, who announced over the weekend that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday, is accused of misdemeanor charges stemming from payment he made to his 2016 attorney Michael Cohen, which Cohen then passed on as “hush money” to Stormy Daniels, a porn star, with whom Trump had an encounter years before. The charge is that Trump recorded these payments as legal fees, when the funds were then used for a different purpose. Bragg reportedly plans to elevate that misdemeanor charge to a felony, alleging that Trump intended to use that first crime to engage in a second crime, election fraud.
The letter states that Cohen was already prosecuted for the payments, and that by July 2019, “federal prosecutors determines that no additional people would be charged alongside Cohen.” The congressmen allege that Bragg is trying to “‘shoehorn' the same case with identical facts into a new prosecution, resurrecting a so-called ‘zombie' case against President Trump.”
They note, too, that the Washington Post has called Bragg's plans “unusual.”
In addition to the statute of limitations having expired for the misdemeanor and about to expire for the anticipated felony charge, the congressmen note that Bragg's star witness, Cohen, is himself a “convicted perjurer with a demonstrable prejudice against President Trump.” Cohen, they note, pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to Congress to aid Democrats in going after Trump.
“The inference from the totality of these facts is that your impending indictment is motivated by political calculations,” they determine, before noting that Bragg is going after Trump despite being entirely unable to control the rampant crime spike in New York City.
“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 conclusion, they demand:
“All documents and communications between or among the New York County District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Department of Justice, its component entities, or other federal law enforcement agencies referring or relating to your office's investigation of President Donald Trump;
“All documents and communications sent or received by former employees Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz referring or relating to President Donald Trump; and
“All documents and communications referring or relating to the New York County District Attorney Office's receipt and use of federal funds.
“In addition,” they continue, “your testimony is necessary to advance our oversight and to inform potential legislative reforms. We therefore ask that you testify in a transcribed interview about these matters as soon as possible.”