Meddling Toward Justice

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks at a press conference on January 13, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Yesterday a fellow Dispatch-er posed a challenging question in the company Slack channel. Imagine that a rogue prosecutor bent the law in order to nab a bad guy, this person asked, apropos of nothing in particular. What role should Congress play in remedying that injustice?

I’m inclined to answer: None whatsoever—in the near term, at least. Especially if the rogue in question is a state prosecutor rather than a federal one.

The question was inspired, obviously, by the letter three House Republican committee chairmen sent to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as he prepares to prosecute The Porn Star Payoff Heard ‘Round The World. Bragg’s office doesn’t receive much federal funding and what it does receive goes mostly toward supporting programs for crime victims, not toward local prosecutions. But somehow that was enough of a federal nexus for Reps. Jim Jordan, James Comer, and Bryan Steil to start making demands of the DA.

They want him to provide documents and communications between his office and arms of the federal government since 2017 related to the Stormygate investigation of Donald Trump. And they want him to testify before their committees to help “advance our oversight and to inform potential legislative reforms” pertaining to, among other things, how much leeway state prosecutors should have to bring charges in matters where federal prosecutors have declined to do so.

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