Manhattan DA's counsel says House GOP collaborating with Trump

GOP chairmen demanded testimony, documents related to Alvin Bragg’s probe.

March 31, 2023, 4:34 PM

The counsel for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Friday urged House Republicans to denounce former President Donald Trump's attacks on Bragg's office, saying they are collaborating with him to undermine his criminal probe.

"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," the attorney for Bragg said in letter to Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., Bryan Steil, R-Wis., and James Comer, R-Ky. The three are chairmen of House committees probing the DA's investigation into Trump.

The emailed letter came mere hours after the Manhattan's DA office indicted Trump in a criminal proceeding involving his payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Following the news, the former president and some Republican lawmakers quickly criticized the indictment Thursday night, branding it as politically motivated and a witch hunt ahead of the 2024 election in which Trump is a candidate.

Sources tell ABC News reports that Trump began calling congressional allies Thursday night, urging them to defend him following news of the indictment. Many of them did.

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to members of the press during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy speaks to members of the press during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

"The House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in a tweet Thursday night.

McCarthy, who says he maintains regular communication with the former president, said Bragg has "weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump."

"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," Bragg's attorney told the GOP chairmen Friday.

The emailed letter also implored the lawmakers to back down from their investigation into Bragg's office.

"What neither Mr. Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State," Leslie Dubeck wrote. "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," Dubeck added.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, first sent a letter to Bragg on March 20, just two days after Trump used his social media platform to brand Bragg's office as "corrupt" and politically motivated.

They allege that Bragg is using federal funds to conduct his investigation, which would give Congress the authority to probe the Manhattan's DA office. It is an allegation that Bragg denies.

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The GOP chairmen demanded testimony and documents related to Bragg's investigation and what, at the time, was his office's potential indictment of Trump.

PHOTO: New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg leaves New York Criminal Court shortly after the indictment of former President Donald J. Trump in New York was announced, on March 30, 2023, in New York.
New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg leaves New York Criminal Court shortly after the indictment of former President Donald J. Trump in New York, on March 30, 2023, in New York.
Justin Lane/EPA via Shutterstock

"Your actions will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the course of the 2024 presidential election," Jordan and other House GOP chairmen wrote to Bragg earlier this month. "We expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision," they said.

Jordan then expanded his probe into Bragg and his office two days later, requesting that two former special prosecutors from his office provide testimony to the House committee. The prosecutors had resigned from the Manhattan's DA office over what they said was Bragg's refusal to prosecute Trump.

What followed that communication was a back-and-forth between Jordan's committee and the Manhattan DA's office.

"Your letter dated March 20, 2023 … is an unprecedent (sic) inquiry into a pending local prosecution," the counsel for Bragg's office told House investigators in a letter. "The Letter seeks non-public information about a pending criminal investigation, which is confidential under state law," the counsel wrote.

"We reiterate the requests in our March 20 letter and ask that you comply in full as soon as possible but no later than March 31, 2023," the chairmen wrote in response.

There is no indication that the DA's office will comply with Congress' requests by the end of the day, and there is no sign that House Republicans will tamp down on their effort to investigate Bragg.

A spokesperson for the House Judiciary Committee did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky, Katherine Faulders, Rachel Scott, Will Steakin and Lauren Peller contributed to this report.

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