OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a field hearing on April 17 in New York City to look into how Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s policies have impacted the area and led to an increase in violent crime.
The field hearing, which is titled “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan,” will be held at the “Jacob Javits Federal Building just blocks from Bragg’s Lower Manhattan office and the courthouse where Trump, 76, was arraigned on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records last week,” the New York Post reported.
“The House Judiciary Committee will hear from ‘victims’ of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s policies during a hearing in New York next week — escalating a confrontation with the progressive prosecutor over his unprecedented criminal case against former President Donald Trump, The Post has learned. Republicans have slammed Bragg as being soft on conventional crime while embracing a novel legal theory to bring the first-ever criminal case against an ex-president,” the Post reported.
“We’ll be hosting this hearing next week from NYC. We’ll be hearing from victims who are suffering under DA Bragg’s pro-crime policies. If Bragg can spend resources indicting President [Donald] Trump, he should be able to address the soaring crime in NYC,” committee member Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona tweeted.
We'll be hosting this hearing next week from NYC.
We'll be hearing from victims who are suffering under DA Bragg's pro-crime policies.
If Bragg can spend resources indicting President Trump, he should be able to address the soaring crime in NYC. https://t.co/S2IegwdPT1
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) April 10, 2023
A plethora of legal experts have come forward since Trump’s indictment and argued that Bragg’s case is exceptionally weak.
“The question to ask yourself in a case like this [is], ‘Would a case like this be brought against anybody else, whether he or she be president, former president or a regular citizen?’ The answer is… no,” Former Whitewater deputy counsel Sol Wisenberg said.
“You can debate all day long whether or not… Trump should be indicted related to the records at Mar-a-Lago, whether or not he should be indicted with respect to Jan. 6 incitement of lawless activity… Those are real crimes if they occurred, and he committed them,” he said. “This is preposterous.”
Ian Millhiser, a senior correspondent at Vox, wrote: “There is something painfully anticlimactic about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of former President Trump. It concerns not Trump’s efforts to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States, but his alleged effort to cover up a possible extramarital affair with a porn star. And there’s a very real risk that this indictment will end in an even bigger anticlimax. It is unclear that the felony statute that Trump is accused of violating actually applies to him.”
Mark Stern, a writer for the liberal outlet Slate, published a story titled, “The Trump Indictment Is Not the Slam-Dunk Case Democrats Wanted.”
John Bolton — who served as a national security adviser in the Trump administration and has since come out against Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign — appeared on CNN and blasted the charges filed against his ex-boss, former President Trump, saying the indictment was “even weaker than I feared it would be.”
“Speaking as someone who very strongly does not want Donald Trump to get the Republican presidential nomination, I’m extraordinarily distressed by this document,” Bolton said on CNN. “I think this is even weaker than I feared it would be.”
Notorious anti-Trump GOP Sen. Mitt Romney issued a statement saying: “I believe President Trump’s character and conduct make him unfit for office. Even so, I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda. No one is above the law, not even former presidents, but everyone is entitled to equal treatment under the law. The prosecutor’s overreach sets a dangerous precedent for criminalizing political opponents and damages the public’s faith in our justice system.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said in an interview with Fox News that the case is “outrageous.”
“[Bragg] is attempting to bootstrap [a] federal crime into a state case. And if that is the basis for the indictment, I think it’s rather outrageous,” the professor said.
“I think it’s illegally pathetic,” he said. “There’s a good reason why the Department of Justice did not prosecute this case: Because it’s been down this road before. It tried a case against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards arguing that hush money paid to another woman, who bore a child out of that relationship, was a campaign violation. That was a much stronger case, but they lost,” Turley said, referring to federal prosecutors not charging Trump following Cohen’s guilty plea.
“Even if you can bootstrap that dead misdemeanor to something alive, you’re essentially arguing a federal case that the Department of Justice declined. But it’s also a case that requires you to show, if that is the basis of this indictment, that Trump’s only, his sole motive for paying this money or having third parties pay it was for the election,” he said.
“Bragg’s betting on a motivated judge and a motivated juror. You couldn’t pick a better jurisdiction…. [But] under Bragg’s theory, he can take any unproven federal crime and revive a long-dead misdemeanor and turn it into a felony. That’s going to raise concerns for a number of judges. But once it gets to the appellate level, he’s going to have a particularly difficult time,” he said.