“Kangaroo investigation”: Dems push back as Jim Jordan, House GOP go after Manhattan D.A.

As the possible indictment of former President Donald Trump looms, House Republican leaders are circling the wagons and demanding to see investigators’ cards, in an apparent last-ditch effort to forestall Trump’s prosecution. Spurred by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, three House committee chairs released a joint letter Monday, demanding that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg testify on his office’s investigation into Trump over hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. 

In a Saturday post on Truth Social, Trump said he believed he would be arrested Tuesday by local prosecutors and called on his fans to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK.” 

Hours later, McCarthy took to Twitter, accusing the Manhattan DA of “an outrageous abuse of power” and announcing an investigation. 

“I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”

In 2018, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pled guilty to federal charges and admitted to paying Daniels $130,000, allegedly on Trump’s orders, in the weeks ahead of the 2016 election. Daniels said she’d had sex with Trump occasionally since 2006 (which Trump denies) and that the money was intended to silence her. When Trump paid Cohen back for fronting the $130,000, the payments were labelled “legal fees.” Hence, the Manhattan DA’s investigation into Trump over falsified business records to cover up illegal activity (in this case, an illegal campaign contribution) — a felony fraud charge. 

On Monday morning, a joint letter to Bragg’s office emerged from House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., and Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil, R-Wis.

“We expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” the lawmakers wrote.

“In addition, your apparent decision to pursue criminal charges where federal authorities declined to do so requires oversight to inform potential legislative reforms about the delineation of prosecutorial authority between federal and local officials.” 

The authors went on to claim that the DA’s investigation could also prompt new laws governing how local prosecutors can interact with special counsels, such as former special counsel Robert Mueller, who spent more than two years investigating the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

Beyond demanding that Bragg appear to testify, the GOP committee chairs are also asking for all documents about Trump that have been exchanged with the Justice Department (or those exchanged with former employees Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz) and any records of any federal funds spent.

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Axios’ Andrew Solender tweeted the letter in full on Monday. 

Democrats quickly hit back online, and Rep. Ted Lieu of California came out swinging. 

“Dear Jim Jordan: Local prosecutors, including DA Bragg, owe you nothing. In fact, it is illegal for you and [House Judiciary Republicans] to interfere in an ongoing criminal investigation, or a criminal trial (if there is one),” Lieu said. 

Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., called the GOP’s probe a “kangaroo investigation.”

“Trump paid money to conceal his decade-old affair with a porn star three weeks before a close election,” Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., said Monday

“From Day One, I said the so-called ‘Weaponization’ Subcommittee was more aptly named ‘the Committee to Obstruct Justice.’ As if on cue, House Republicans are now using the official power of the Congress to try to obstruct a state prosecution of Donald Trump,” Goldman tweeted. 

Or, as the House Judiciary’s former chair and now ranking member, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., put it: 

“Using a congressional committee to bully a state DA sounds like … the weaponization of the federal government.”

There is still no independent confirmation that an indictment or arrest is actually forthcoming this week. Nonetheless, law enforcement agencies in and around Manhattan are reportedly preparing for possible upheaval on Tuesday — including the NYPD, New York State Court Officers, the Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Manhattan district attorney’s office. According to NBC News, Trump attorney Joe Tacopina has said the former president will surrender to authorities from the DA’s office if required to. 

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Source : https://www.salon.com/2023/03/21/jordan-manhattan-da/

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