House Republicans requested records and testimony about the investigation against President Trump on Thursday, but the Manhattan district attorney rejected their request, calling it an “unprecedented inquiry” with no solid foundation.
The chief counsel for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg denounced the congressional proposal as “an unconstitutional encroachment into New York’s sovereignty” in a letter that The Associated Press received.
Leslie Dubeck said in the letter that “the Letter only arrived after President Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the following day and his lawyers requested you to intervene.” “Neither fact is a valid justification for a congressional investigation.”
On Monday, the Republican chairs of three House committees wrote to Bragg requesting details regarding his involvement in the Trump case. Republicans attacked the grand jury probe as an “extraordinary abuse of prosecutorial authority.”
The chairs asked that all evidence, papers, and records of any correspondence with the Justice Department be provided by Thursday.
When a grand jury in New York deliberates whether to indict the former president, Republicans in the House rapidly banded together to support him.
As in every case, the District Attorney’s Office will be required to give the defendant access to a sizable quantity of information from its files if a grand jury files charges against Donald Trump.
One of the first public acknowledgments that a grand jury is currently in session and looking into Trump is the five-page answer from Bragg’s office, which offers a rare glimpse into what has remained a private grand jury process.
The district attorney’s office has strictly followed centuries-old regulations that have kept grand juries secret to protect the reputations of those who ultimately are not indicted and to persuade reluctant witnesses to testify.
Grand jurors hear testimony from witnesses and the prosecution’s case in private hearings to the general public and the press. No judge or defense attorney is present, and prosecutors are not required to submit any favorable evidence for the defense.
After hearing from Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen last week, the grand jury appears to be nearing completion of its investigation.
Nevertheless, it is unclear when a decision to prosecute the former president will be made. The grand jury was not going to convene on Thursday after the prosecution called off its scheduled meeting on Wednesday. Yet, should Trump be charged, law police have been preparing for potential upheaval in New York.
The case centers on payments made to women who claimed to have had sexual relations with Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign in the form of hush money. The investigation by Bragg’s team focuses on whether anyone, including Trump, committed crimes in New York state when they organized the payments or handled their internal accounting at the Trump Organization.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of the GOP’s chairmen, widened his investigation into how the Trump case was handled on Thursday by requesting documents and testimony from Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne.
These two former Manhattan prosecutors were in charge of the Trump case before quitting last year over disagreements about the investigation’s course.
Jordan, an Ohio Republican, wrote in a letter to Pomerantz late Wednesday, “Last year, you resigned from the office over Bragg’s initial hesitation to press forward with charges, shaming Bragg in your departure letter — which was subsequently leaked — into bringing charges.” Your attempts to embarrass Bragg were successful because he now uses a flimsy and unproven legal theory to revive a so-called “zombie” case against President Trump.
Dunne and Pomerantz did not respond to requests for comment.