"Unlawful": DA Alvin Bragg goes off on Jim Jordan and GOP investigators for taking Trump's bait

Alvin Bragg's office accused House Republicans of interfering in the investigation at Trump's behest

Published March 23, 2023 12:36PM (EDT)

Jim Jordan and Alvin Bragg (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Jim Jordan and Alvin Bragg (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office on Thursday pushed back on demands from three House GOP committee chairs who requested he turn over sensitive information about his investigation into former President Donald Trump, calling their effort "unlawful."

Bragg's general counsel, Leslie Dubeck, responded to Judiciary, Oversight and Administration Committee Chairs Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, James Comer, R-Ky., and Bryan Steil, R-Wis., after they requested an interview with Bragg as well as documents regarding the case. 

Dubeck said that the probe from the GOP is "an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution," adding that "the Letter only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene." 

"Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry," she wrote in the letter obtained by Politico.

Dubeck's letter comes after Trump personally asked House Republicans to support him. She explained in the message to the lawmakers that Bragg's office was following the Justice Department's longstanding position to refuse to provide Congress with details of ongoing criminal investigations.

However, she did add that the office would "meet and confer" with the aides of the three Republicans to determine if they could share anything.

"The District Attorney is obliged by the federal and state constitutions to protect the independence of state law enforcement functions from federal interference," Dubeck wrote. "The DA's Office therefore requests an opportunity to meet and confer with committee staff to better understand what information the DA's Office can provide that relates to a legitimate legislative interest and can be shared consistent with the District Attorney's constitutional obligations."

The requests from the GOP lawmakers, including two additional letters from Jordan, have raised concerns about Congress' jurisdiction in state and local criminal matters. Democrats have fought the idea that Congress has any role to play in non-federal investigations. 

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Dubeck said that the DA's office would submit a letter describing their use of federal funds, which House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., implied could face revocation. But she also added that questions revolving around Bragg's use of federal funds still don't justify a congressional attempt to reveal nonpublic information about the ongoing investigation. 

Her letter rejected the idea that the Trump probe is political and added that the forum for any allegations would be court proceedings in New York, not in Congress. 

None of the House Republicans involved immediately responded to Politico's request for comment on Thursday, but the House Judiciary Republicans tweeted shortly after the letter that "Alvin Bragg should focus on prosecuting actual criminals in New York City rather than harassing a political opponent in another state."

There are no clear next steps from the trio about what will happen if Bragg does not comply with their requests. Jordan has hinted towards using a "compulsory" process, which would mean a subpoena. However, he did not directly answer any questions on Wednesday about whether issuing a subpoena is his next move. 

By Samaa Khullar

Samaa Khullar is a former news fellow at Salon with a background in Middle Eastern history and politics. She is a graduate of New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism institute and is pursuing investigative reporting.

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Aggregate Alvin Bragg Bryan Steil Donald Trump James Comer Jim Jordan Kevin Mccarthy Politics