Judiciary Committee vs. Bragg: The Curtain Goes Up

The text discusses a hearing in which Republicans are expected to argue that Alvin Bragg, a prosecutor, is more focused on Donald Trump than on crime.

Judiciary Committee vs. Bragg: The Curtain Goes Up

Today, we'll give you a preview of a hearing in Manhattan. There's a subtext to the topic of violent crime in this borough.


This morning the House Judiciary Committee will hold an hearing in Lower Manhattan, and not Washington. The committee called it a 'field hearing' and the title is 'Victims of violent crime in Manhattan'. The purpose of the statement is to suggest that Alvin Bragg has focused his efforts on prosecuting former President Donald Trump, rather than the lawlessness occurring in the streets.

Jerrold J. Nadler, ranking Democrat of the Judiciary Committee said that he, along with Mayor Eric Adams, would hold a press conference before the hearing to join other gun violence prevention groups.

The Republican-led Committee said that the hearing would examine how Bragg's 'pro-crime and anti-victim' policies had contributed to an increased violent crime in the city, making it more dangerous. (Even though Bragg was the district attorney of only one of five boroughs within the city).

Bragg's Office countered via Twitter that the hearing would not engage in real efforts to increase public security, such as support national gun legislation or shutting down "the iron pipeline," a term often used to refer to the Interstate 95 corridor, which delivers guns to New York from states that have weaker gun laws.

Luke Broadwater is a congressional reporter in The New York Times' Washington bureau. I asked him what to expect during the hearing.

Isn't it political theater? Isn’t claiming that violent crime in New York is on the rise a way to attack Bragg because he prosecuted Trump?

Yes, of course. We're talking about politicians, right? All of their actions are motivated by a political agenda.

In this case, the Republicans of the committee are motivated to use the crime in New York to attack Bragg as a response to the Trump investigation. It's not that crime isn't an issue in New York. There are many horror stories about specific crimes. The politics are clear.

Democrats plan to use this hearing to draw attention to Republicans' opposition to limiting access to firearms.

Bragg claims that Republicans in Congress want to interfere with his office's criminal prosecution of Trump. What is the significance of congressional scrutiny over a local district prosecutor, even if it is not about Trump or crime? How unusual is the Judiciary Committee holding a hearing outside Washington, even if it's not about Trump but crime?

House Republicans led by Representative Jim Jordan from Ohio are trying to intervene by publicizing Bragg's case and overloading his office with requests. The House Republicans have subpoenaed one of Bragg’s former top prosecutors Mark Pomerantz and demanded access Bragg’s communications and documents related to the case.

They claim that the prosecution was motivated by politics. Bragg's predecessor Cyrus Vance Jr. used federal funds to investigate the case. They are now researching legislation that will prevent future prosecutions.

Bragg's lawyers have filed a lawsuit to prevent the committee from issuing the subpoena. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday on the same day that Pomerantz will appear before the committee.

Congress has the authority to investigate virtually anything. But it is rare that a committee will take such action as the Judiciary Committee.

The hearing will be the second outside Washington that the Judiciary Committee holds this year. The first hearing was held in Yuma, Arizona to discuss the condition of the Southwest border. Kevin McCarthy, the House Speaker, encouraged Republican-led committees in Washington to hold hearings away from Washington, and increased their travel budgets for this purpose.

Has Bragg been called as a witness by the committee?

According to my understanding, the committee didn't ask Bragg to come in to testify. However, the Republicans asked him to be interviewed about the Trump investigation.

What is the basis of the claim that violent crime has risen in this area? Police Department claims major crimes have decreased.

According to the most recent crime statistics, major crime in New York is down this year. According to the same Police Department chart, major crime is down in New York this year.

Bragg is, of course, the top prosecutor in Manhattan and not for the entire city of New York. The crime rate in Manhattan increased in Bragg's inaugural year. However, it is down by about 2.4 per cent this year compared to 2022.

Experts say that it is difficult to pinpoint a single official as the cause of a crime statistic's rise or fall.

I'd also expect Republicans will point out individual examples of horrific crime that can have narrative impact. I'd expect Democrats to respond by pointing out high crime rates in Republican districts and violent examples.

Bragg and Jordan are no strangers to a dispute over the Trump investigation. Jordan first issued a subpoena against Pomerantz, and Bragg then filed a suit last week accusing Jordan of an 'unconstitutional and brazen attack' on Trump's prosecution. What might be said during the hearing if that's true?

This will be the whole subtext of the proceedings. It is not about crime at all. Instead, Republicans are trying to hurt Bragg's political standing.

Bragg's suit and the Republican's demand for records will be mentioned a lot, I'm sure.

I suppose the overall takeaway would be that this hearing is unlikely to result in any bipartisan legislation. We should expect a political battle.


Showers and fog will be present in the morning, followed by gradual clearing with temperatures around 70. Partly cloudy skies are expected in the evening, with a temperature near 50.

In effect until Friday (Eid al-Fitr).


Santos returns donor contributions: George Santos is a first-term Republican Congressman who faces criminal investigations and ethics inquiries. He reported returning nearly 8,400 dollars in donations in the first quarter 2023. This is more than the $5,333 that he raised.


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