The Manhattan district attorney overseeing an investigation that could lead to criminal charges against former US President Donald Trump has dismissed Republican lawmakers’ attacks on the investigation, charging them with an “unlawful incursion” into his jurisdiction.
Alvin Bragg’s office issued a response Thursday to a letter from senior Republicans in the US Congress demanding he testify about what they called a “politically motivated prosecution decision.”
Bragg’s office is investigating claims that Trump approved a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election, and the case received renewed attention this weekend after the former president said he expected to be arrested.
In their letter this week, Republican legislators in the House of Representatives also asked for documents related to the investigation. Bragg’s office said the requests violated the US system in which states, not the federal government, have police power.
“The requests in the letter are an unlawful encroachment on New York’s sovereignty,” said the written response signed by the district attorney’s general counsel, Leslie Dubeck.
“Congress’s investigative jurisdiction is derived from and limited by its power to legislate on federal matters.”
Bragg’s office also rejected charges that the Trump investigation is politically motivated, stressing that Congress is not the right place to address issues with a local prosecution.
“The allegation in the letter that the prosecution is pursuing a prosecution for political purposes is baseless, and in any event, the proper forum for such a challenge would be the New York courts, which are equipped to consider and adjudicate such objections. “, it said.
Bragg, an elected Democrat, has become a target of Trump and his allies since taking office assembling a grand jury to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against the former president.
The case revolves around the payment that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, made to Daniels prior to the 2016 election. Daniels said she had an affair with Trump, who is married, and Cohen said he had ordered her to Trump had paid.
The former president has denied the affair, saying the payment was to protect his reputation from a false accusation, insisting he had done nothing wrong.
A grand jury met behind closed doors this week to determine whether to press charges against Trump.
Several U.S. media outlets have reported that the potential charges are related to Trump’s repayment of Cohen, with prosecutors alleging he falsely labeled the payments as legal fees.
If the payment is determined to be a campaign donation, it could also violate election laws that limit contributions to political candidates to $2,700 per person and require them to be made public. It remains unclear exactly what charges Trump may face.
Trump said Saturday he expected to be arrested Tuesday and urged his supporters to protest.
Republican lawmakers were quick to defend the former president, who is seeking the White House again in 2024.
“Alvin Bragg should focus on prosecuting real criminals in New York City rather than harassing a political opponent in another state,” the Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Make Manhattan safe again!”
On Monday, the Republican chairmen of three powerful House committees sent their letter rebuking Bragg.
“You are reportedly about to participate in an unprecedented abuse of prosecuting power: the indictment of a former United States president and current declared candidate for that office,” the chiefs of the judiciary, oversight, wrote. and administration panels of the House.
In his response on Thursday, Bragg said the congressional request came after “Trump raised a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day.”
Bragg called for a meeting with the committees’ staffers to “better understand what information the prosecution can provide that pertains to a legitimate legislative interest and can be shared in accordance with the prosecutor’s constitutional obligations.”
Trump continued to lash out at Bragg this week, appealing to New York City’s crime rate, which has risen since before the district attorney took office last year.
The District Attorney headed by Alvin Bragg is allowing violent crime to flourish in New York City like never before as he spends all his time making his office, which is in total chaos, trying to find anything on ‘Trump’ ,” the former president wrote on his Truth Social platform.
“He is doing the work of anarchists and the devil, who want our country to fail.”
Murders fell in New York last year, but other crimes, including robberies, increased.