Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) again pushed back against House Republicans’ efforts to investigate his prosecution of President Trump, with his office sending a scathing letter Friday morning boasting about his indictment of Trump and accusing them of “collaborat(ing) with Mr. Trump’s efforts to vilify and denigrate the integrity of elected state prosecutors and trial judges and made unfounded allegations that the Office’s investigation, conducted via an independent grand jury of average citizens serving New York State, is politically motivated.”
The letter is the latest in a back and forth between House Committee Chairmen Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Justice; Rep. Brian Steil (R-WI), Administration and Rep. James Comer (R-KY), Oversight.
Dear Chairman Jordan, Chairman Steil, and Chairman Comer:
Yesterday, the District Attorney of New York County filed charges against Donald Trump for violations of New York law.1 The charges filed yesterday were brought by citizens of New York, doing their civic duty as members of a grand jury, who found probable cause to accuse Mr. Trump of having committed crimes in New York.
Like any other defendant, Mr. Trump is entitled to challenge these charges in court and avail himself of all processes and protections that New York State’s robust criminal procedure affords. What neither Mr. Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State. Your first letter made an unprecedented request to the District Attorney for confidential information about the status of the state grand jury investigation—now indictment— of Mr. Trump. Your second letter asserts that, by failing to provide it, the District Attorney somehow failed to dispute your baseless and inflammatory allegations that our investigation is politically motivated. That conclusion is misleading and meritless. 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. 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.2
Skip rebuttals. Subjects: The Committees Lack Jurisdiction to Oversee a State Criminal Prosecution, The Committees’ Vague and Shifting Legislative Purpose is Insufficient and The DA’s Office Uses Limited Federal Funds to Effectively Fight Crime & Help Victims
Finally, as you are no doubt aware, former President Trump has directed harsh invective against District Attorney Bragg and threatened on social media that his arrest or indictment in New York may unleash “death & destruction.” As Committee Chairmen, you could use the stature of your office to denounce these attacks and urge respect for the fairness of our justice system and for the work of the impartial grand jury. Instead, you and many of your colleagues have chosen to collaborate with Mr. Trump’s efforts to vilify and denigrate the integrity of elected state prosecutors and trial judges and made unfounded allegations that the Office’s investigation, conducted via an independent grand jury of average citizens serving New York State, is politically motivated. See, e.g., Annie Grayer et al., Inside the backchannel communications keeping Donald Trump in the loop on Republican investigations, CNN.com (March 28, 2023), https://tinyurl.com/mr3n675p (“House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik . . . and Trump spoke several times last week alone, where she walked him through the GOP’s plans for an aggressive response to Bragg.”). We urge you to refrain from these inflammatory accusations, withdraw your demand for information, and let the criminal justice process proceed without unlawful political interference.
If you will not withdraw your request, we reiterate our willingness to meet and confer with you or your staff about how we can accommodate your request without violating our obligations as prosecutors to protect the integrity of an ongoing criminal prosecution. We respectfully request that you provide us with a list of questions you wish to ask District Attorney Bragg and to describe the type of documents you think we could produce that would be relevant to your inquiry without violating New York grand jury secrecy rules or interfering with the criminal case now before a court. We trust you will make a good-faith effort to reach a negotiated resolution before taking the unprecedented and unconstitutional step of serving a subpoena on a district attorney for information related to an ongoing state criminal prosecution.
Leslie B. Dubeck