NEW YORK — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has a message for Republican lawmakers conducting a Congressional probe into his investigation of former President Donald Trump: Back off.
If criminal charges are brought against Trump in Manhattan, it’ll be because “the rule of law and faithful execution” of the DA’s duty to uphold it warrants them, reads a letter Bragg’s office sent Thursday to GOP leaders.
The DA’s general counsel Leslie Dubeck was responding to Monday’s demands from the House GOP Judiciary Committee in a letter accusing the DA of investigating Trump as part of a political conspiracy.
The House committee led by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, demanded Bragg voluntarily testify before Congress about the ongoing confidential investigation and share with them non-public evidence.
The DA has been presenting evidence to a grand jury since January about Trump’s role in a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 presidential election. Speculation has been rife the panel is on the verge of handing down an indictment.
Dubeck described Republican lawmakers Jordan, Rep. Bryan Steil of Wisconsin and Tennessee Rep. James Comer as inappropriately carrying out “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution,” and noted it came after Trump spread unfounded claims that his still-uncertain arrest was imminent.
“The Letter 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 a congressional inquiry,” Dubeck wrote.
“These are quintessential police powers belonging to the State, and your letter treads into territory very clearly reserved to the states. It suggests that Congress’s investigation is being ‘conducted solely for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to ‘punish’ those investigated,’ and is, therefore, ‘indefensible.’”
Citing the DA’s legal obligation to protect the independence of state law enforcement actions from federal interference, Dubeck agreed to meet the committee to discern whether prosecutors could accommodate “a legitimate interest.”
Monday’s letter demanded Bragg provide documents related to two prosecutors who quit when he disagreed with them about the case’s readiness.
The Republican lawmakers on Wednesday wrote one of them, Mark Pomerantz, demanding he schedules testimony by March 27 and citing his book about the probe released last month, which they said shamed Bragg into bringing the hush money case.
“(You) published a book excoriating Bragg for not aggressively prosecuting President Trump, laying bare the office’s internal deliberations about the investigation and your personal animus toward President Trump,” Jordan wrote Pomerantz.
“It now appears that your efforts to shame Bragg have worked as he is reportedly resurrecting a so-called ‘zombie’ case against President Trump using a tenuous and untested legal theory.”
Pomerantz’s book, “People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account,” had Bragg seeking in vain to delay its release so as not to jeopardize the active investigation. The book chronicled Pomerantz’s work on the expansive probe and the politics that preceded his dramatic February 2022 resignation after Bragg took office.
The book details how DA staffers considered the hush money case and how it “went back into the grave” after they abandoned various legal theories.
Pomerantz wrote that Bragg said he “could not see a world” where he’d rely on Trump’s ex-fixer Michael Cohen as a witness. Cohen went to federal prison for the payment and has cooperated extensively in the DA’s probe.
Pomerantz did not return a request for comment.
Sources say Bragg is considering felony-level charges against Trump, which would mark the first ever brought against a current or former U.S. president.
Trump, 76, who is running for the White House for the third time, denies ever sleeping with Daniels or knowing that Cohen paid her off.