Manhattan District Attorney has broken his silence on the potential indictment of former President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, Bragg addressed the claim by former President Trump that he would be arrested in connection to an investigation into a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, calling it the creation of a “false expectation.”
According to The Hill, Bragg responded to demands by House Republicans pushing to force his testimony and turn over all documents and communication on the case, in a letter to Congress that such a move was an “unprecendent[ed] inquiry into a pending local prosecution.”
Bragg’s general counsel sent a five-page letter to GOP House committee chairmen Jim Jordan(Ohio), Bryan Steil (Wis.), and James Comer (Ky.) regarding their request for documents and testimony in the Trump investigation.
“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,” Bragg wrote.
“If charges are brought at the conclusion, it will be because the rule of law and faithful execution of the District Attorney’s duty require it,” he wrote.
“The Letter’s allegation that the DA’s Office is pursuing a prosecution for political purposes is unfounded, and regardless, the proper forum for such a challenge is the Courts of New York, which are equipped to consider and review such objections.”
“Your letter treads into territory very clearly reserved to the states. It suggests that Congress’s investigation is being ‘conducted solely for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to “punish” those investigated,’ and is, therefore, ‘indefensible,’” he writes, pointing to a 1957 Supreme Court ruling limiting congressional investigations.
Trump wrote in a Truth Social post over the weekend that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday in connection to the probe, but as of Thursday morning, no charges have been announced and the grand jury weighing the case is not expected to meet for the rest of the week.
“ILLEGAL LEAKS FROM A CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE, WHICH HAS ALLOWED NEW RECORDS TO BE SET IN VIOLENT CRIME & WHOSE LEADER IS FUNDED BY GEORGE SOROS, INDICATE THAT, WITH NO CRIME BEING ABLE TO BE PROVEN, & BASED ON AN OLD & FULLY DEBUNKED (BY NUMEROUS OTHER PROSECUTORS!) FAIRYTALE, THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK,” Trump posted to his social media platform Truth Social. “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
Trump’s call was shortly followed by a demand from a trio of House Republican chairmen on Monday for testimony from Bragg ahead of his anticipated prosecution of Trump.
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” McCarthy said on Twitter. “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.”
Prosecutors are expected to charge Trump with a felony by arguing that the alleged crime was committed to hide an illegal campaign contribution. The potential problem for Trump centers around how his company reimbursed former attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to related charges and served time in prison.
The payment to Daniels was listed as a legal expense and Trump’s company cited a retainer agreement with Cohen. The retainer agreement did not exist and the reimbursement was not related to any legal services from Cohen, thus setting up a potential misdemeanor criminal charge of falsifying business records. A report by NBC News said that Trump personally signed several of the checks to Cohen while he was serving as president.
Prosecutors can elevate the misdemeanor to a felony if they can prove that Trump’s “‘intent to defraud’ included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime.”
Prosecutors argue that the second crime is that the $130,000 hush payment was an improper donation to the Trump campaign because the money was used to stop a story for the purpose of benefiting his presidential campaign.