Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg denied congressional Republicans’ claims of political bias over the weekend, accusing the lawmakers of undermining his office’s investigation of former President Donald Trump.
“We evaluate cases in our jurisdiction based on the facts, the law, and the evidence,” Bragg said in a March 25 statement posted to his Twitter account. “It is not appropriate for Congress to interfere with pending local investigations.
“This unprecedented inquiry by federal elected officials into an ongoing matter serves only to hinder, disrupt, and undermine legitimate work of our dedicated prosecutors,” he added. “As always, we will continue to follow the facts and be guided by the rule of law in everything we do.”
The investigation in question surrounds a $130,000 “hush money” payment Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016, weeks before the presidential election. Daniels, whose legal name is Steffanie Clifford, has alleged she was paid to keep quiet about a supposed affair she had with Trump. Cohen then billed Trump to reimburse him.
Bragg is said to be pursuing a felony charge of falsifying business records, which requires their falsification to be done in connection with another crime—in this case, the violation of federal campaign finance laws. Legal scholars have questioned whether that argument holds water, and newly surfaced evidence suggests that Trump may not have reimbursed Cohen at all.
Meanwhile, Republicans have charged that the investigation is merely an attempt to keep Trump, their party’s leading 2024 presidential candidate, from returning to the White House.
Bragg’s Saturday comments came in response to the second letter he received from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), and House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), whose previous requests for documents and testimony relating to the probe were dismissed by Bragg’s office as lacking a “legitimate basis for congressional inquiry.”
In their Saturday letter, the congressmen disputed that claim, holding that Bragg’s investigation involved “substantial federal interests.”
“The information sought by the Committees will allow us to assess the extent to which your reported effort to indict a former President and current declared candidate for that office is politically motivated and whether Congress should therefore draft legislative reforms to, among other things, protect former and current Presidents from politically motivated prosecutions,” they wrote.
Further noting that Bragg’s office’s offer to submit a letter detailing its use of federal funds did not sufficiently satisfy the breadth of their requests, the congressmen continued, “Accordingly, we reiterate the requests in our March 20 letter and ask that you comply in full as soon as possible but no later than March 31, 2023.”
Prosecution or Persecution?
The Manhattan grand jury hearing evidence in the case is expected to reconvene on Monday, March 27.
Trump, for his part, maintains that he was never romantically involved with Stormy Daniels, despite her claims to the contrary, and that he has not broken any laws.
The investigation, he holds, is just another chapter in Democrats’ ongoing “witch hunt” against him.
Commenting on the matter Monday on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote: “Can you imagine? I am leading the opposition within the Republican Party by 30 plus, and Biden by 6 plus, and everyone is waiting to hear from a local George Soros backed D.A., who has watched Violent Crime in Manhattan soar to Record Highs, as to whether or not he is going to ‘criminally indict’ me for NO CRIME.”
From The Epoch Times