Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) criticized the House GOP’s investigation into the “political prosecution” of former President Donald Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Bragg will likely indict Trump over a series of “hush-money” payments the former president allegedly made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) directed GOP-led committees to investigate Bragg’s “outrageous abuse of power” in “pursuing political vengeance against President 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.
I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by…
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 18, 2023
Most Republicans supported McCarthy’s effort to investigate the prosecution of Trump: who is the leading contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Cornyn, however, questioned the efforts of House Republicans to “go after” Bragg.
Sen. Cornyn questions House GOP effort to go after Manhattan DA:
“There’s more than enough to do,” Cornyn told me. “I would hope they would stick to the agenda they ran on when they got elected to the majority.”
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) March 21, 2023
Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and John Thune (R-SD) joined Cornyn in their “indifference” to the House’s investigation of Trump’s prosecution.
Capito downplayed the House’s investigation, saying, “the House is gonna do what the House is gonna do.”
Tillis warned House leaders not to interject themselves into the “legal process” and directed his comments toward the origins of the potential case against Trump.
“You’ve got to fall short of getting involved in the legal process,” he said. “I think there is a legitimate question asked of, ‘Why are we here?’”
Thune said he wanted no involvement in the House’s effort to defend Trump. “I try to stay out of talking about the House,” he said.
On Jan. 3, 2022, Bragg announced all the crimes he would not prosecute, including possessing marijuana, turnstile jumping, trespassing, resisting arrest, and prostitution.
The New York Police Benevolent Association (PBA) responded to Bragg’s announcement, saying it has “serious concerns” over his policies.
“We continue to have serious concerns about the message these types of policies send to both police officers and criminals on the street,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said.
“Police officers don’t want to be sent out to enforce laws that the district attorneys won’t prosecute. And there are already too many people who believe that they can commit crimes, resist arrest, interfere with police officers, and face zero consequences,” Lynch added.
PBA Statement on Manhattan District Attorney Policy Memo pic.twitter.com/ujydGCy62M
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) January 4, 2022
Andrew McCarthy, former chief assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, predicted that Bragg would have difficulty convicting Trump of a felony.
McCarthy wrote on Fox News that Bragg is likely to charge Trump with the crime of falsification of business records, which is a misdemeanor, but Bragg will upgrade it to a felony, saying Trump falsified business records to hide another crime. The other “crime” is likely a federal campaign finance violation.
He noted that in New York, campaign finance violations are not treated as felonies subject to criminal prosecution, citing that New York City Mayor Eric Adams is facing fines for accepting illegal campaign contributions. Adams never got prosecuted.
McCarthy added that it is “highly unlikely” that Trump violated federal campaign finance law, and even if he did, such violations are settled by fines paid to the Federal Election Commission, not through criminal prosecutions.
McCarthy continued by saying that to upgrade a misdemeanor to a felony, Bragg would have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Trump falsified business records knowing he had committed a second “crime” by violating campaign finance laws.
“Given that lawyers are having a hard time even hypothesizing what this other crime may be, it is hard to imagine that Trump, a non-lawyer, knew about it,” McCarthy wrote.
Republicans should support Trump in his fight against Bragg. A Democratic attorney should not be able to prosecute a Republican presidential candidate. Given the political climate, Bragg will use this opportunity to “silence” his party’s political opposition.