CNN’s Jake Tapper did his best to defend Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s politically motivated probe into former President Donald Trump’s so-called “hush money” payment to porn star Stormy Daniels on Sunday, telling House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) that the rabid prosecutor is dutifully investigating “business crimes,” as any good D.A. would.
The tense exchange on Sunday’s “State of the Union” show began with Tapper pointing to Bragg’s recent response to a letter sent to him from Comer, House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and several other GOP committee chairs, in which the Republicans accused Bragg of “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority” should he indict “a former President of the United States and current declared candidate for that office.”
As BizPac Review reported, Bragg blamed Trump for creating “a false expectation that he would be arrested” and accused the House Republicans, who demanded that he come before Congress and explain himself, of “an unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty.”
D.A. Bragg BLAMES Trump for creating ‘false expectation’ of arrest, rips GOP as case appears to implode https://t.co/sAJ1155CUR pic.twitter.com/P1pCybJ9Hp
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 24, 2023
“[Y]our letter treads into territory very clearly reserved to the states,” Bragg wrote, quoting various legal cases. “It suggests that Congress’s investigation is being ‘conducted solely for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to ‘punish’ those investigated’ and is, therefore, ‘indefensible.'”
Tapper asked Comer for his reaction to Bragg’s reply.
“He said, ‘stay out of local investigations,'” Comer said. “The problem with that is this is not a local investigation. This is a federal investigation.”
“He’s investigating a presidential candidate, not to mention a former President of the United States, for a federal election crime,” he explained. “That has no business being litigated in a local District Attorney’s office.”
“When he says he’s not going to cooperate with Congress,” Comer continued, “unfortunately for Mr. Bragg, he 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.”
The congressman noted that Bragg is soft on crime and playing politics.
"Are you arguing that people who commit business crimes are not committing crimes?"
CNN's @jaketapper presses Rep. James Comer (R-KY) on Republicans investigating the Manhattan district attorney over the hush money probe into former President Donald Trump. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/aR7HrdoZHh
— CNN (@CNN) March 26, 2023
“Where I come in, with the House Oversight Committee,” Comer said, “we believe that the tax dollars would be better spent prosecuting local criminals. That’s what a D.A. is supposed to do.”
Tapper proceeded to ignore what is obvious to both Democrats and Republicans — that Bragg’s quest to get Trump at all costs is clearly an attempt to take out the GOP’s current leading challenger to President Joe Biden’s second term — choosing instead to try and wrap Comer up in a “gotcha” moment.
“Are you arguing people who commit business crimes aren’t committing crimes?” he asked Comer.
“Is this a business crime?” Comer shot back. “We’re talking about a federal election crime here, Jake. This is a federal election crime.”
“The Manhattan D.A. does not write federal election laws,” he added.
“My understanding is that [Trump] is being investigated for falsifying business records,” he said, citing the prosecution of serial-liar Michael Cohen.
“That was a federal investigation,” Tapper said, “from the U.S. attorney during the Trump years.”
“I don’t remember hearing anything from you during that period,” he said. “I guess he wasn’t a candidate, but he had been working for Donald Trump.”
“That was a U.S. attorney that prosecuted,” Comer said. “We’re talking about a local attorney.”
The distinction seemed completely lost on Tapper, who tried again, this time with a “what if” scenario.
Tapper to Comer: “You keep asserting what this investigation is & we haven’t seen an indictment, we haven’t seen charges … What if Bragg comes forward with an indictment, with evidence, & proof that Donald Trump committed these crimes. You still think he shouldn’t be charged?” pic.twitter.com/YJbrOcx619
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 26, 2023
“You keep asserting what this investigation is,” Tapper said. “We haven’t seen an indictment. We haven’t seen charges. We haven’t seen evidence.”
“What if District Attorney Bragg comes forward with an indictment, with evidence, and proof that Donald Trump did commit these crimes? You still think he shouldn’t be charged?”
“Well, we believe he should come explain to us exactly what he’s investigating,” Comer stated. “At the end of the day, this is a presidential candidate. This is the, for better or worse, leading contender for the Republican nomination…as well as a former President of the United States. It’s unprecedented for a local district attorney to even investigate things that we believe the statute of limitations expired years ago.”
“Now, look,” Comer continued, “if a special counsel that’s looking into this wants to do something, if the Department of Justice wants to do something, then they probably, for better or worse, have the ability to do that.”
“This is a local D.A.” he reminded Tapper. “We believe the local D.A.s need to be focused on business crimes, on burglary, on thefts, on carjackings, and all the things that we see happening in these big cities that are creating a crime crisis in America.”
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