Three Republican chairmen of leading House Committees sent a letter to the Manhattan district attorney Saturday with demands to comply with oversight requests related to the political prosecution of former President Donald Trump.
The potential charges stem from hush money payments prosecutors previously declined to pursue.
Chairmen of the House Judiciary, Oversight, and Administration Committees addressed Manhattan DA Alvil Bragg to raise warnings about the consequences of such an indictment and outlined three separate issues “to protect former and/or current Presidents from politically motivated prosecutions by state and local officials.”
Last week, Bragg’s office sent a letter to lawmakers declining their formal request for a sit-down interview over the Manhattan district attorney’s effort to indict Trump. Leslie Dubeck, the general counsel for the Manhattan DA’s office, slammed the call for testimony by House members as an “unprecedented inquiry.”
“The Letter only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene,” Dubeck wrote. “Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry.”
House Republicans countered with an eight-page letter describing the ramifications of nakedly hyper-politicized prosecutions that target a former president and current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination. Lawmakers explained such an inquiry was well within the congressional statute of limitations and outlined a series of potential legislative fixes to satisfy the requirement of “a valid legislative purpose.”
“These legislative reforms may include, for example, broadening the existing statutory right of removal of certain cases from state court to federal court,” lawmakers wrote. “Because your impending indictment of a former President is an issue of first impression, the Committees require information from your office to inform our oversight.”
Lawmakers also pointed to Bragg’s record as Manhattan’s leading prosecutor to highlight a clear double standard.
“Under your leadership, the New York County District Attorney’s Office has adopted and defended your progressive criminal justice policies, which includes ‘downgrad[ing] 52 percent of felony cases to misdemeanors,'” the trio of House chairmen wrote.
Bragg is reportedly contemplating an upgrade for Trump’s charges, on the other hand, from a misdemeanor to a felony.
“To the extent that you are receiving federal funds and are choosing to prioritize apparent political prosecutions over commonsense public safety measures,” House Republicans wrote, “the Committee on the Judiciary certainly may consider legislation to tie federal funds to improved public safety metrics.”