Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg does not have the "luxury" of rejecting a congressional request for information about the investigation into former President Donald Trump because if there is a case, it would be one on the federal level and not being prosecuted in a local courtroom, Rep. James Comer, one of the GOP leaders signing a demand for details from Bragg, said Sunday.
"He's investigating a presidential candidate, not to mention a former president of the United States, for a federal election crime that has no business being litigated in a local district attorney's office," the Kentucky Republican said in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union."
Bragg, he added, "doesn't have the luxury of determining whether or not he can comply with a congressional request because he crossed over two levels of government, from the local level to the federal level, to try to prosecute something that clearly, if there was a reason for prosecution, it should be done by the Department of Justice on the federal level."
Last week, Comer, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and House Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil, R-Wis., sent a letter to Bragg demanding communications, documents, and testimony relating to Trump's potential indictment on charges related to hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Bragg has rejected their demands, saying the issue is a matter of state, not federal jurisdiction.
Comer argued, though, that Bragg should be more concerned with fighting the high crime rate in New York City.
"Voters overwhelmingly rejected many Democrat candidates because of the crime issue," said Comer. "We have a crime crisis in many of our cities, and we're trying to do something about that in the House of Representatives. One of the reasons we believe we have high crime rates in certain parts of America is because we have prosecutors that are soft on crime … we believe tax dollars would be better spent prosecuting local criminals. That's what the DA is supposed to do."
He further pointed out that Bragg's star witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, was put in prison through a federal, not local investigation.
Comer also warned that using local prosecutors to push for federal criminal indictments will "open a can of worms," with other local offices going after federal officials and candidates.
"This is a presidential candidate," he said. "One frustration Republicans have in Congress, is we keep having interference in our elections. I know that the Democrats complained about that rightfully … we just want the government out of our elections. We don't believe tax dollars should be spent for this. We believe this is a political stunt by Mr. Bragg."
And, Comer said he and other House Republicans believe Bragg "should come to explain to us exactly what he's investigating because, at the end of the day, this is a presidential candidate…it's unprecedented for a local district attorney to investigate things that we believe the statute of limitations expired years ago."
He said if Bragg will explain what he's doing "and he makes a good explanation, he makes a good argument, and we see that we're in an area where we shouldn't belong…then we'll back off. But we're sick and tired of meddling in federal elections, and I don't believe that Bragg would be doing this if Donald Trump were not running for president, and that's something that we would like to ask Mr. Bragg as well."
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