Jordan asks Trump prosecutors to testify to ‘weaponization’ panel

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee chairman on Friday asked two New York state prosecutors to testify at a subcommittee hearing next month about the case where a jury found former president Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.

In a pair of letters, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, said the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government would hold a hearing about the case on June 13. He invited Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Matthew Colangelo, an attorney on Bragg’s team who gave the opening statements at the Trump trial, to testify.

Both letters say the hearing will look at the “actions by state and local prosecutors to engage politically motivated prosecutions of federal officials, in particular the recent political prosecution of President Donald Trump by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.”

The hearing is the first official step by congressional Republicans to back Trump following the trial. A sentencing hearing for Trump is set for July 11.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said the hearing is part of a broader push from Jordan to try to discredit judicial proceedings against Trump.

It is “one in a continuing attempt to bully the prosecutors into abandoning prosecutions and to tell the country the false story of persecution of the president and to help undermine confidence in the criminal justice system in the United States,” Nadler said on Friday.

Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., a member of the subcommittee, said in an interview that Jordan has no jurisdiction over a state-level prosecution. “He has no basis to be asking for a prosecutor to come in to testify before Congress,” Goldman said.

Bragg, at a press conference on Thursday, thanked the jury and said they paid careful attention to the evidence and the law. The district attorney also praised his prosecution team, saying they embodied the “finest traditions of this office” and described them as “model public servants.”

“While this defendant may be unlike any other in American history, we arrived at this trial, and ultimately today at this verdict, in the same manner as every other case that comes through the courtroom doors, by following the facts and the law and doing so without fear or favor,” Bragg said.

A representative for Bragg’s office could not be immediately reached Friday for comment about the request to testify.

A New York jury convicted Trump on Thursday on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to hide reimbursement to pay adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep a story about the pair having sex from emerging before the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats largely praised the verdict, calling it a victory for the rule of law.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., in a statement Friday said Trump was “tried according to the facts and the law, and he was found guilty by a jury of his peers.”

“As Donald Trump considers his next steps within the legal system, there should continue to be no outside political influence, intimidation, or interference,” Schumer said. “I encourage Mr. Trump’s supporters and critics alike to let the process move forward according to the law.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday weighed in on social media in a two-sentence post that did not name Trump directly.

“These charges never should have been brought in the first place. I expect the conviction to be overturned on appeal,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said in a social media post of his own that the “verdict does nothing to absolve the partisan nature of this prosecution.”

Trump has tied the New York case and other criminal prosecutions against him into a streak of grievance politics at the core of his reelection run, claiming “election interference” by Democrats and calling on Republicans to back him.

Following the verdict Thursday, Trump received an outpouring of support from Republicans in Congress, and Friday’s letter is the first sign of that turning into congressional action amid a heated election season.

Jordan has served as one of Trump’s primary defenders in Congress amid the former president’s legal troubles, including a public court fight over deposing a former prosecutor in Bragg’s office, which Jordan later publicized in a staff report alleging political bias by Bragg.

Jordan even took steps to buoy him during the trial, calling Attorney Robert Costello to a hearing to criticize the prosecution’s main witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Costello testified while Cohen took the stand at the trial in New York, and Trump’s team called Costello as part of the defense case a week later.