Congressional Republicans stepped up their attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Tuesday for what they call a “manhunt” of former President Donald Trump in the secret money investigation of Stormy Daniels.
As an impeachment against Trump looms, Republican lawmakers have demanded that Bragg reveal details of the investigation and warned they plan to subpoena him to testify about it on Capitol Hill.
“Alvin Bragg is exceeding his limits as a prosecutor. That is the essence of political persecution,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said Tuesday. “He is living outside the limits of his procedural authority. Congress should investigate that.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, speaking from a GOP Congressional retreat in Orlando, accused Bragg of selective prosecution for going after Trump over the secret money scandal, alleging that other campaigns were fined and not criminally prosecuted. for lying about the real purpose of the expenses.
“In your heart of hearts, you know this is political,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday.
“Alvin Bragg should be brought in front of Congress to testify under oath,” added Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.)
The chairs of three House committees led by the Republican Party sent a letter to Bragg on Monday demanding that he testify in the Trump case.
“You are reportedly about to participate in an unprecedented abuse of tax authority: the impeachment of a former President of the United States and current declared candidate for that office,” the letter said.
Republicans hope to change public focus from Trump’s alleged misdeeds to what they claim is Bragg’s overzealous pursuit of the former president.
But Democrats and legal experts say it’s inappropriate for Congress to interfere in an ongoing criminal investigation, particularly one led by a state attorney.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) called the GOP’s efforts to question Bragg “an amazing and unprecedented abuse of power” and accused Republican leaders of carrying out Trump’s orders to derail his prosecution.
McCarthy insisted Tuesday that he has not spoken to Trump about the investigation.
Nikki Haley, Trump’s only announced major presidential rival, also accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of using the investigation to gain “political points.”
“When you get involved in political processes like this, it’s more about revenge than justice,” Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday night.
Haley spoke out a day after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another presumed Republican White House candidate, also denounced Bragg for attacking Trump.
DeSantis made sure to also blast Trump for getting into the R-rated mess in the first place.
Grand jury secrecy laws would likely prevent Bragg from publicly discussing Trump’s case, especially before any potential indictments are handed down.
Trump’s defense attorneys say they don’t expect the panel to decide until Wednesday at the earliest whether to impeach the former president.
Trump is accused of paying Daniels $130,000 to keep the porn star quiet about a previous sexual encounter in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
He later reimbursed former fixer Michael Cohen, but claimed the cash was for “legal expenses.”
Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor in New York, but can be charged as a felony if the crime is committed in furtherance of another crime.
Trump also faces a myriad of other criminal investigations, including a Georgia probe into election interference.
Federal special counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump’s seizure of classified government documents when he left the White House, as well as his role in overturning the 2020 election and inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.