WASHINGTON — Three House Republican committee chairmen sent Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a letter Monday requesting he testify before Congress "about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision" in any potential indictment of former President Donald Trump in the prosecutor's hush money probe.
"You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former president of the United States and current declared candidate for that office," the letter said.
It comes ahead of a pending New York grand jury decision in the case.
"This indictment comes after years of your office searching for a basis — any basis — on which to bring charges, ultimately settling on a novel legal theory untested anywhere in the country and one that federal authorities declined to pursue," the GOP lawmakers continued. "If these reports are accurate, your actions will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the course of the 2024 presidential election."
The letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky.; and House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wis.
The letter is not a subpoena, but it marks the first investigatory action from the committees after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., promised to scrutinize the people who have been investigating Trump.
The GOP chairmen argued that the Bragg’s “star witness” is former longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who they alleged has a “serious credibility problem.” They asked that Bragg share documents since January 2017 of communications between his office and the Justice Department as well as other documents related to Trump. The chairmen asked that Bragg testify in a transcribed interview “about these matters as soon as possible,” and requested he provide the documents and contact committee staff to schedule his interview no later than 10 a.m. on Thursday.
A spokesperson for the DA's office responded to the letter Monday saying, "We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we let baseless accusations deter us from fairly applying the law."
"In every prosecution, we follow the law without fear or favor to uncover the truth. Our skilled, honest and dedicated lawyers remain hard at work," the spokesperson added.
The request for Bragg's testimony comes after Trump said Saturday that “illegal leaks” indicated he would be arrested Tuesday and called on supporters to protest. In posts on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump referred to reports that he could soon face possible criminal charges in New York related to a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Trump did not say Saturday whether he had been informed by law enforcement of a coming indictment. A spokesperson for Trump later clarified in a statement that there “has been no notification, other than illegal leaks from the Justice Dept. and the DA’s office, to NBC” and other news outlets.
NBC News reported Friday that law enforcement agencies are prepping for a possible Trump indictment as early as this week.
The grand jury likely hasn't returned an indictment yet because its members were hearing testimony Monday from attorney Robert “Bob” Costello, a former legal adviser to Trump's ex-longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Over the weekend, congressional Republicans expressed support for Trump ahead of the grand jury's possible decision. At the House GOP Conference's retreat in Orlando, Florida, McCarthy gave a full-throated defense of Trump, dismissing Bragg’s investigation as politically motivated and saying the prosecutor is uninterested in cracking down on rising crime in New York City.
McCarthy, however, urged calm and said Americans shouldn't protest if the former president is indicted and arrested.