WASHINGTON — House Republicans indicated they see a legal basis for a congressional subpoena of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over a possible indictment of former president Donald Trump, stepping up their fight with the New York prosecutor.
In an eight-page letter rejecting Bragg’s rebuttal and repeating their request for him to testify, the Republican chairmen of the judiciary, oversight and House administration committees said the potential move to file criminal charges against Trump over hush payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels was a federal rather than simply a local matter.
“If state or local prosecutors are able to engage in politically motivated prosecutions of Presidents of the United States (former or current) for personal acts, this could have a profound impact on how Presidents choose to exercise their powers while in office,” chairmen Jim Jordan, James Comer and Bryan Steil, wrote.
The three chairmen stopped short of saying they’d subpoena Bragg. But they argued that Bragg’s testimony was required to determine whether Congress needed to act to prevent the prosecution of sitting or former presidents.
Citing a 1961 Supreme Court decision giving Congress broad oversight powers, they said that gave them the right to subpoena the prosecutor.
In a letter rejecting Judiciary Chairman Jordan’s request for his testimony last week, Bragg called the demand “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.”
A state grand jury that Bragg impaneled in January is weighing the possibility of criminal charges against Trump over the hush money payments made shortly before the 2016 presidential election to conceal an affair she says she had with Trump. Trump has denied the affair and called Bragg’s probe a political attack.