Republicans seeking answers from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg about his case against former President Donald Trump were told the probe was funded by $5,000 in federal dollars, Breitbart reported. Congress has a right to investigate probes funded by federal grants.
Trump was indicted Thursday by Bragg's office over supposed hush money payments made years before to former porn star Stormy Daniels. The timing and substance of the investigation point strongly to political motives ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
Powerful GOP Chairmen Reps. James Comer (R-KY), Bryan Steil (R-WI), and Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to Bragg on March 20 as it was rumored the Manhattan DA might go forward with the case, the New York Post reported. Comer is Oversight Chair, Jordan is Judiciary Chair, and Steil serves as House Administration Committee Chair.
Their roles allow them to question Bragg's office about the investigation if federal money is involved. The chairmen warned that Bragg's move to charge Trump amounted to "an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority" if he went through with it.
"If these reports are accurate, your actions will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the course of the 2024 presidential election," they wrote. "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 GOP chairmen added.
Bragg's general counsel, Leslie Dubeck, replied to the letter, calling their claims "baseless and inflammatory" while addressing the funding issue. "That conclusion is misleading and meritless," she said of the assertion that the prosecution was a political move.
"We did not engage in a point-by-point rebuttal of your letter because our Office is legally constrained in how it publicly discusses pending criminal proceedings, as prosecutorial offices are across the country and as you well know," she explained. "That secrecy is critical to protecting the privacy of the target of any criminal investigation as well as the integrity of the independent grand jury’s proceedings."
Dubeck went on to claim that "Congress has no warrant for interfering with individual criminal investigations—much less investigations conducted by a separate sovereign." The letter said the "initial rationale for its inquiry related to this Office’s use of federal funds" was insufficient.
"Indeed, the DA’s Office has helped the Federal Government secure more than one billion dollars in asset forfeiture funds in the past 15 years. The DA’s Office receives only a small fraction of those forfeited funds," Dubeck added.
"Our review of the Office’s records reflect that, of the federal forfeiture money that the Office helped collect, approximately $5,000 was spent on expenses incurred relating to the investigation of Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization," the letter went on. "These expenses were incurred between October 2019 and August 2021," relating to a separate case where the "DA’s Office prevailed."
The Judiciary Committee has yet to respond to the rebuttal but adamantly denied a Fox News report that they were backing down. "Fox is told that the trio of House committee chairs investigating the Alvin Bragg 'will take a step back until he is arraigned,'" a tweet from Senior Congressional Correspondent Chad Pergram said Friday.
"That said, the committees vow to investigate the circumstances surrounding the indictment." The House Judiciary social media account shared this post with the caption, "Fake news."
The unprecedented move to indict a former president will likely draw more ire and investigations, especially if Bragg's evidence is as flimsy as it appears. As Fox News host Tucker Carlson predicted, "there is no coming back from this moment," no matter what.
This sham of an indictment is clearly a political move by a rabid Democrat. However, the structure of the justice system is such that it may take time to parse that out -- but the GOP won't give up.