Representative Bryan Steil (R-WI-01) and his fellow co-chairs on three key House committees are not taking no for an answer from the intransigent Manhattan District Attorney investigating former President Donald Trump.
“The American people deserve to know the answers to the questions we asked,’ Steil, chairman of the House Committee on Administration, told The Wisconsin Daily Star.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s Office effectively told Steil, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH-04) and Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY-01) to go pound sand.
The House GOP chairs are seeking important details in the politically charged probe into a hush money scandal involving Trump’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump had claimed that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday, but the day came and went with no action — although an indictment could be delivered as soon as next week, according to multiple sources.
The lawmakers requested Bragg’s testimony and documents and communication about the investigation amid Trump’s run for the White House.
“Your actions will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the course of the 2024 presidential election,” Jordan wrote in the letter, signed by Comer and Steil.
“In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” the letter states.
Bragg’s legal counsel — the attorney for the district attorney — Leslie Dubeck responded that the lawmakers’ investigation into the investigators is “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.”
“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,” Dubeck wrote in the letter obtained by the Associated Press.
In short, the attorney insisted congress had no jurisdiction over non-federal investigations.
But as history and Government Executive show Congress has investigated everything from the president to the military to baseball and “whatever it wants.” In the 116th Congress, controlled by Democrats, the House Oversight and Reform Committee heard testimony from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen about, among other issues, Trump’s alleged payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Said alleged payments occurred years before Trump was elected, and even longer before the 116th Congress was in session.
What Steil and his colleagues want is an understanding of what is driving the Manhattan District Attorney to recharge a once-idle investigation, and why it’s happening now. And they want to know if there are federal dollars — particularly coming from a Democrat administration headed by Trump’s potential presidential campaign rival — feeding the Democrat-led probe.
“Chairman Jordan, Chairman Comer, and I will continue to push for transparency and accountability if any federal funds are being improperly utilized in this unprecedented investigation into the former president,” Steil said.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Bryan Steil” by Congressman Bryan Steil. Photo “Donald Trump” by Trump White House Archived. Photo “Alvin Bragg” by Alvin Bragg. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Carol M. Highsmith.