Alvin Bragg rips ‘baseless accusations’ as House Republicans demand he be hauled to Congress over Trump indictment

One-term president has called on supporters to ‘protest’ if he is arrested

Graeme Massie,Andrew Feinberg
Tuesday 21 March 2023 16:43 GMT
Donald Trump claims Americans ‘doomed’ unless he becomes president again

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has fired back at “baseless accusations” after House Republicans threatened to haul the New York City prosecutor before Congress to explain a potential indictment against Donald Trump.

Republicans rallied in Donald Trump’s defence after the one-term president predicted that he will be arrested on Tuesday. A trio of House committee chairs threatened to call Mr Bragg to testify before Congress.

“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,” a spokesperson for Mr Bragg told Fox News. “"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.”

In a letter sent to Mr Bragg on Monday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, and House Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil accused the Democratic prosecutor of being “about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority” by indicting Mr Trump.

“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,” they said.

“Your decision to pursue such a politically motivated prosecution—while adopting progressive criminal justice policies that allow career ‘criminals [to] run[ ] the streets’ of Manhattan—requires congressional scrutiny about how public safety funds appropriated by Congress are implemented by local law-enforcement agencies. 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,” they added.

The ex-president personally predicted that Mr Bragg would convince a grand jury to indict him, leading to his arrest as soon as Tuesday. He laid out his prognostications in a furious all-caps post on his Truth Social platform on Saturday morning.

If his prediction comes true, Mr Trump will make history as the first US president in history if he is indicted over alleged hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election.

In it, he called on his supporters to protest any arrest and to “take our nation back.”

A spokesperson for Mr Trump later made clear that despite the post, “there has been no notification, other than illegal leaks from the Justice Dept. and the DA’s office” and news outlets. However, Mr Trump himself was the one to publicly claim that he would be arrested last week, not the Manhattan District Attorney’s office or news reports.

Mr Trump’s online outburst came days after Ms Daniels confirmed she had met with prosecutors in Manhattan’s district attorney’s office as part of the ongoing investigation.

FILE - Adult film actress Stormy Daniels arrives for the opening of the adult entertainment fair Venus in Berlin, on Oct. 11, 2018. (AP)

Leading Republican politicians were quick to defend Mr Trump, despite the legal difficulties he appears to be facing from still-unannounced charges. The lawmakers rushing to defend the ex-president have done so without awareness or knowledge of any potential indictment of Mr Trump; Republicans are fighting a public relations battle intended to undermine any criminal case against Mr Trump, the man who is still most likely to be the GOP’s 2024 nominee.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused the Manhattan district attorney’s office of an “outrageous abuse of power.”

“Here we go – an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” the California lawmaker wrote 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.”

Far-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that Mr Trump would “win even bigger” if he’s indicted next week, adding that he will “ultimately win even bigger than he is already.”

“And those Republicans that stand by and cheer for his persecution or do nothing to stop it will be exposed to the people and will be remembered, scorned, and punished by the base,” she said in posts across her social media channels.

“President Trump did nothing wrong and has always fought for the American people, and we all know it, which is why we love him,” she added, echoing Mr Trump’s claims of innocence.

“And any Republican who thinks the Democrats will stop this madness once Trump is out of the way is fooling themselves,” she said.

That was a prediction also aired by Twitter owner Elon Musk, who tweeted, “If this happens, Trump will be re-elected in a landslide victory.”

Chip Roy, a Republican congressman from Texas who has backed Ron DeSantis for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, also took to Twitter to support Mr Trump.

“The impending indictment of President Trump in NY must be treated as it is: a politically-motivated prosecution based on a strained, convoluted legal theory,” he stated.

“It makes clear the danger of a politicized ‘justice’ system that will be (is being) weaponized against ALL Americans.”

US Senator JD Vance, a Republican from Ohio, attacked the Manhattan DA on Twitter and claimed “These people are trying to turn America into a third-world country.”

He added: “I’ve been asked by multiple reporters if an indictment would lead me to rescind my endorsement of Donald Trump.

“The answer is: hell no. A politically motivated prosecution makes the argument for Trump stronger. We simply don’t have a real country if justice depends on politics.”

Elise Stefanik, a Republican congresswoman from New York, has been suggested as a possible vice president pick if Mr Trump wins the nomination.

“This is unAmerican and the radical Left has reached a dangerous new low of Third World countries. Knowing they cannot beat President Trump at the ballot box, the Radical Left will now follow the lead of Socialist dictators and reportedly arrest President Trump, the leading Republican candidate for President of the United States,” she said in a statement.

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