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Manhattan DA office blasts House Republicans for collaborating with Trump’s efforts to paint his indictment as ‘politically motivated’

Alvin Bragg; Donald TrumpAlvin Bragg and Donald Trump

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images; Brandon Bell/Getty Images

  • The Manhattan district attorney’s office blasted House Republicans in a letter dated Friday.
  • Three committee chairmen have subpoenaed DA Bragg over the office’s investigation into Trump.
  • The Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Trump on Thursday.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office brushed off House GOP’s threats of investigation, warning three committee chairmen not to interfere with the prosecution of former President Donald Trump.

“Like any other defendant, Mr. Trump is entitled to challenge these charges in court and avail himself of all processes and protections that New York State’s robust criminal procedure affords,” a lawyer for Bragg’s office wrote in a letter dated Friday to Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, James Comer of Kentucky, and Bryan Steil of Wisconsin, chairmen of the powerful House Judiciary, Oversight, and Administration committees, respectively. 

“What neither Mr. Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State,” the DA’s general counsel, Leslie Dubeck, added.

A Manhattan grand jury brought criminal charges against Trump on Thursday. Although the indictment remains under seal until Trump appears in court, it caps off a yearslong investigation and likely focuses on alleged campaign finance crimes related to payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels.

Michael Cohen, a former personal lawyer for Trump, said he paid Daniels $130,000 to keep her quiet ahead of the 2016 presidential election about an affair she says she had with Trump — a plot Cohen says was carried out at Trump’s direction. Trump has denied the affair and says he’s done nothing wrong.

Trump has long been characterizing the investigation, and now the charges brought against him, as a political witch hunt. In the aftermath of the indictment, he rallied his congressional Republican allies, who had been trying to investigate the Manhattan district attorney’s office, for support, according to CNN.

The Friday letter from Bragg’s office blasts the three Republicans for “an improper and dangerous usurpation of the executive and judicial functions” for trying to determine “whether any charges against Mr. Trump are warranted.”

“Even worse, based on your reportedly close collaboration with Mr. Trump in attacking this Office and the grand jury process, it appears you are acting more like criminal defense counsel trying to gather evidence for a client than a legislative body seeking to achieve a legitimate legislative objective,” Dubeck wrote.

The chairmen made their first request on March 20 for testimony and documents from the Manhattan district attorney’s office related to its investigation into Trump, amid reports that an indictment appeared imminent. 

“In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Bragg.

A spokesperson for Bragg at the time responded that the office “will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process,” and the office sent a letter defying the request. The trio of House Republicans followed up again, pressing for information related to the district attorney’s probe.

Friday’s letter says any interference in an ongoing criminal investigation would be “unprecedented and illegitimate,” and jeopardize Trump’s privacy rights. It also accuses the Republican chairmen of choosing “to collaborate with Mr. Trump’s efforts to vilify and denigrate the integrity of elected state prosecutors and trial judges.”

“As you are no doubt aware, former President Trump has directed harsh invective against District Attorney Bragg and threatened on social media that his arrest or indictment in New York may unleash ‘death & destruction,'” the letter says. “As Committee Chairmen, you could use the stature of your office to denounce these attacks and urge respect for the fairness of our justice system and for the work of the impartial grand jury.”

Representatives for Jordan, Comer, and Steil did not immediately return requests for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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