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The Manhattan district attorney investigating Donald Trump blasted Republicans on Thursday for making an ‘unprecedented’ request for documents about the case, and said it had only been made because the former president had raised a ‘false expectation’ of his arrest.
New York remains on a knife edge as it waits for a grand jury to finish hearing evidence about hush money payments made to adult movie star Stormy Daniels.
At the weekend, Trump said he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and called on supporters to protest — yet it looks likely that the week will pass without an indictment.
However, Republicans led by Jim Jordan, Jim Jordan Chairman, chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, used the controversy to demand that DA Alvin Bragg testify before Congress.
In his response, Bragg’s legal counsel described the request as an ‘unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty.’
Manhattan District Attorney is under intense scrutiny as he builds a case against Donald Trump. On Thursday he accused the former president of creating a ‘false expectation’ about an impending arrest, triggering outrage among Republicans who asked for his testimony
In a five-page response, the DA’s attorney said House Republicans had no right to ask for information about an ongoing investigation. Bragg’s counsel said it was ‘an unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty’ as he rebuffed the request
‘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,’ Leslie Dubeck wrote in the letter. ‘Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry.’
The Republican chairmen of three House committees sent a letter to Bragg on Monday seeking information about his role in the case.
They claimed the probe was an ‘unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.’
Bragg already faces deep scrutiny for pressing ahead with a case after federal investigators decided not to pursue it.
It revolves around a $130,000 payment to Daniels in 2016 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump. He has always denied any relationship.
The money was paid by his then fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen, who says he was later reimbursed by Trump.
Grand juries operate in secret. But it is believed to be close to finishing its work, after hearing last week from Cohen.
This week, Jordan suggested that the case was politically motivated.
Trump triggered excitement when he announced at the weekend he was going to be arrested in connection with the case on Tuesday
Three Republicans, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) chair of the Judiciary Committee asked Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg to sit for a transcribed interview with them ‘as soon as possible’
‘No authorities wanted to take the case but then what changed? President Trump announces he’s running for president and shazam,’ he told reporters on Monday.
The five-page response from Bragg’s office says the three committee’s were asking for information that is confidential under state law.
‘The letter’s requests are an unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty,’ it said.
‘Congress cannot have any legitimate legislative task relating to the oversight of local prosecutors enforcing state law.’
The tussle shows how the case is entering uncharted territory. If indicted, Trump would be the first U.S. president to ever face criminal charges in court.
For now, the case remains in limbo.
On Thursday, a court official told DailyMail.com that Bragg canceled the grand jury hearings on Wednesday and Thursday.
It remains unclear why the grand jury is not reconvening for the rest of the week amid reports that the panel needs to hear from a final witness before levying a judgment.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (pictured Thursday arriving at his office) will not convene the grand jury for the hush money case against Trump.
Grand Jury members will reconvene at the Manhattan courthouse at noon on Thursday
One source told DailyMail.com: ‘They are having trouble convincing the jury to swallow the case. It’s a weak case and has caused divisions in the DA’s office.’
Other reports suggested the DA’s office could be contemplating a change in strategy.
Trump has urged his supporters to take to the streets and protest as he still maintains complete innocence of any wrongdoing in the allegations. The former president acknowledged that he approved a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to settle what he called a ‘nuisance fee’ but denied the affair.
But bombshell new documents obtained by DailyMail.com show that Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen claimed in a 2018 letter that he was not reimbursed by his client or his businesses for the hush money payments to Daniels.
The letter to federal authorities could throw a wrench in the works for prosecutors looking to pursue criminal charges against Trump for the payment.
Cohen, a star witness in the trial, claims that Trump reimbursed him with personal funds. He later pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance law over the hush money.
Even if Trump is indicted this week, law enforcement sources tell DailyMail.com that he would not need to come to New York for arraignment until next week, at the earliest. Decidedly good news for the former president, who is preparing for one of his first 2024 campaign rallies in Waco, Texas on Saturday.
All 36,000 New York Police Department (NTPD) officers were put on alert this week, told in a memo Monday to be in uniform and on standby for deployment. The men and women in uniform have maintained a heightened presence around the courts in Manhattan this week with both pro- and anti-Trump protesters descending on the Big Apple.
Police presence included using dogs to sweep the area to sniff for bombs and other nefarious items after the New York courts were flooded with threats earlier this week.
A bomb threat made via a 9-1-1 call on Tuesday shut down the Manhattan civil courthouse Tuesday morning and put proceedings on hold, according to a court spokesperson.
The threat delayed the start of a New York attorney general hearing in a separate case involving Trump and his company allegedly engaging in a yearslong fraud scheme.
Police are using bomb sniffing dogs to patrol the area around Manhattan Criminal Court after someone made a bomb threat via 9-1-1 call on Tuesday
Drug-sniffing K9s were brought into the Manhattan court offices on Thursday to perform a sweep before the DA and grand jury arrive.
Anti-Trump protesters hold up a gigantic sign reading, ‘Trump Lies All the Time’ at a park near the Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday, March 23, 2023
Trump posted an image Wednesday evening on Truth Social of him posing with a large group of officers and first responders with the NYPD and FDNY. There was no text associated with the post.
In a separate post on his social media platform, Trump also re-upped his claims there was ‘no crime of any kind’ and accused Bragg of ‘election interference’ with weighing the indictment of a former – and potentially future – president.
As all eyes turn to New York and police and court security are surveying the streets, images emerged of members of the United State Secret Service (USSS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) setting up a base camp at the Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Trump is steering clear of the city he once called home, instead remaining at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
The former president acknowledged that he approved a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to settle what he called a “nuisance fee’ but denied the affair.
NYPD stand guard outside Trump Tower in Manhattan on Thursday morning as the grand jury prepares to reconvene as protesters are expected to continue demonstrating outside the ex-president’s once longtime residence