Tuesday saw the remarkable action of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filing a lawsuit against Rep. Jim Jordan to stop what he claims is a “transparent campaign of intimidation and attack” over his indictment of former President Donald Trump.
As part of a probe into Bragg’s handling of the case—the first criminal prosecution of a former U.S. president—Jordan, the Republican who chairs the Judiciary Committee, has issued or plans to issue subpoenas, according to Bragg, a Democrat.
After weeks of letters and media announcements, Bragg filed a lawsuit to stop what it calls a “constitutionally harmful fishing expedition” that poses a danger to the sovereignty of the United States.
The lawsuit asserts that Congress lacks the legal authority to “oversee, much less disrupt, ongoing state law criminal matters” due to the lack of such power in the Constitution.
This is because Congress “lacks any valid legislative purpose to engage in a free-ranging campaign of harassment in retaliation for the District Attorney’s investigation and prosecution of Mr. Trump under the laws of New York.”
The following was Jordan’s comment on Twitter on Tuesday: “First, they indict a president for no crime. After we inquired about the alleged usage of federal monies, they then filed a lawsuit to prevent congressional monitoring.
Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor who previously oversaw the Trump investigation and sparred with Bragg over the probe’s course before leaving his position last year, has now been subpoenaed by the Judiciary Committee to testify.
Also, the committee has asked Bragg and his office for records and testimony. Bragg turned down these petitions.
Monday’s hearing in Manhattan by the House Judiciary Committee will focus on crime in the Big Apple and what it claims are Bragg’s “pro-crime, anti-victim” policies. But, the D.A.’s office cites data indicating a decline in violent crime in Manhattan since Bragg assumed office in January 2022.
Bragg replied that if Ohio native Jordan “truly cared about public safety,” he would travel.
Theodore Boutrous, a well-known First Amendment attorney who has also defended Mary Trump, the estranged niece of Donald Trump, in court disputes with her famous uncle, is representing Bragg in the complaint.
The U.S. has been given the case. Trump appointed District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, who formerly presided over the federal bankruptcy court.
According to Bragg’s lawsuit, he is suing “in reaction to an unprecedentedly brazen and unconstitutional onslaught by members of Congress on an ongoing New York State criminal prosecution and investigation of former President Donald J. Trump.”
Trump was charged with 34 felonies on March 30 for allegedly manipulating business records in connection with hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to disprove claims that he had extramarital affairs.
Even before Trump was charged, Conservatives were bashing Bragg.
Jordan has sent numerous letters and subpoenas to those connected to the investigation. Under Bragg’s direction, Pomerantz declined to voluntarily assist the committee’s request last month, citing the ongoing inquiry.
Jordan believes that Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, two of the top deputies overseeing the investigation daily, were the impetus behind Bragg’s choice to proceed with the hush money case.
The already precarious battle over the extent and boundaries of congressional oversight authorities enters uncharted territory due to Bragg’s complaint.
House Republicans have maintained that Congress has direct jurisdiction over the Manhattan case since it includes campaign money and what the prosecution claims were a plot to taint the 2016 race.
Many had anticipated Jordan would have summoned Bragg by now, but the cruel back and forth between the two elected leaders has reached a breaking point. Jordan’s committee has been pressing its case against Bragg in recent weeks, but a legal battle over a subpoena could halt its progress and heighten Democratic charges that the panel is engaging in political games rather than debating essential problems.