Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Thursday emphatically rebuffed a House Republican demand for documents and testimony related to his office’s investigation of former president Donald Trump, saying the request was “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.”
The demand by Jordan and other GOP lawmakers came after Trump claimed over the weekend that he would be arrested in the coming days and called on his supporters to protest. The Manhattan grand jury weighing possible criminal charges against Trump will not consider the matter again until at least Monday, according to two people familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss secret grand jury proceedings. On his Truth Social platform, Trump has kept up a steady stream of attacks on Bragg in all-caps-heavy posts, calling him an “animal” and demanding his removal from office.
In a letter to Jordan and others Thursday, Bragg’s office said their request “treads into territory very clearly reserved to the states” — and noted that it had only come after Trump had “created a false expectation that he would be arrested … and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene.”
“Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry,” stated the letter from the district attorney’s office, signed by general counsel Leslie Dubeck.
Complying with their request would interfere with law enforcement and violate New York’s sovereignty, Dubeck added. The letter also poured cold water on Jordan’s suggestion that Congress needed those documents for a review of federal public safety funds, but said the district attorney’s office would nonetheless submit a letter describing its use of federal funds.
“While the DA’s Office will not allow a Congressional investigation to impede the exercise of New York’s sovereign police power, this Office will always treat a fellow government entity with due respect,” the letter from Bragg’s office concluded. “Therefore, again, we request a meet and confer to understand whether the Committee has any legitimate legislative purpose in the requested materials that could be accommodated without impeding those sovereign interests.”
Jordan’s letter drew sharp criticism from Democrats, who pointed out that the right-wing lawmaker had ignored a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Jan. 6 committee later voted to refer Jordan and other GOP lawmakers who had also defied its subpoenas to the House Ethics Committee.
Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee have also pushed back on Jordan’s letter to Bragg, which they did not sign.
“Jim Jordan is out of control,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) wrote in a Twitter post Thursday. “He’s trying to put his thumb on the scale for his friend Donald Trump by injecting MAGA politics into an ongoing criminal investigation. I appreciate [Bragg’s] measured response to Jordan’s dangerous request.”
In one of his last acts as president, Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian award — to Jordan in January 2021. The White House at the time praised Jordan, one of eight House lawmakers who were part of Trump’s defense team in his first Senate impeachment trial, for his work to “unmask the Russia hoax and take on Deep State corruption” and for his efforts to “confront the impeachment witch hunt.”
Republicans have rallied to Trump’s defense since the former president predicted over the weekend he would be arrested. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and many other high-profile GOP figures — including those who could be Trump’s chief rivals in the 2024 presidential primary — accused Bragg, a Democrat, of pursuing a political agenda.
Notably silent over the weekend was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), another likely 2024 opponent, who on Monday claimed Bragg was “weaponizing the office” but couldn’t resist making references to the allegations against Trump.
“Look, I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair — I just, I can’t speak to that,” DeSantis said, prompting laughter and applause from the audience at a Florida state college.
Prosecutors from Bragg’s office have been presenting grand jurors with evidence related to payments during the 2016 presidential campaign aimed at keeping Daniels from airing her claim that she’d had a sexual relationship with Trump years earlier.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid $130,000 by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer. Trump reimbursed him after becoming president, in installments that were designated legal fees.
Bragg has declined to give details of the investigation, and his office declined to comment Thursday. But he is believed to be considering charges related to the payments that would include falsifying business records, possibly in commission of another, campaign-related crime.
An earlier version of this article attributed to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg quotes that came from Thursday’s letter. The letter was sent from Bragg’s office and signed by its general counsel, Leslie Dubeck, who speaks for Bragg.
Jacqueline Alemany contributed to this report.