Justice says it did not communicate with Manhattan DA, blasts GOP ‘conspiracy theory’

Justice says it did not communicate with Manhattan DA, blasts GOP ‘conspiracy theory’

The Justice Department informed House Republicans on Tuesday that an exhaustive search yielded no communications between the department and the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and again chastised House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for spreading a “conspiracy theory.”

The letter to Jordan says the department conducted a “comprehensive search” for any emails crafted since Day 1 of the Biden administration with anyone from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), who brought charges against former President Trump.

“We found none,” Carlos Uriarte, the head of legislative affairs for the Justice Department, wrote to Jordan in a letter obtained by The Hill.

“This is unsurprising. The District Attorney’s office is a separate entity from the Department. The Department does not supervise the work of the District Attorney’s office, does not approve its charging decisions, and does not try its cases. The Department has no control over the District Attorney, just as the District Attorney has no control over the Department. The Committee knows this,” he added.

The three-page letter obtained by The Hill  is a stern rebuke of House Republicans, calling its members “irresponsible” for suggesting the Justice Department was in any way involved in Trump’s state-level prosecution.

“Accusations of wrongdoing made without—and in fact contrary to—evidence undermine confidence in the justice system and have contributed to increased threats of violence and attacks on career law enforcement officials and prosecutors,” Uriarte wrote.

“Our extraordinary efforts to respond to your speculation should put it to rest.”

A New York jury found Trump guilty on each of the 34 counts brought by Bragg in charging him with falsifying business documents to conceal hush money payments made to a porn actor ahead of the 2016 election.

The determination has spurred an outpouring of concern from many Republicans, including calls for revenge or retribution following the decision.

In the days after Trump’s guilty verdict, Jordan again demanded Bragg appear before the House Judiciary Committee for testimony — something the prosecutor has agreed to, though not on the timeline pushed by the chair.

House Republicans also reignited their probe into a former DOJ official who left the department to join Bragg’s team, requesting in an April letter any information the department had on file for Matthew Colangelo, who gave the opening arguments in Trump’s case. They likewise requested all communications between the two entities.

The department also faulted Jordan for igniting an investigation based on what the chair previously described as the “perception” that the Justice Department could be involved in Trump’s prosecution.

“The Department does not generally make extensive efforts to rebut conspiratorial speculation, including to avoid the risk of lending it credibility,” Uriarte wrote.

“However, consistent with the Attorney General’s commitment to transparency, the Department has taken extraordinary steps to confirm what was already clear: there is no basis for these false claims.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland has taken a more forceful posture against GOP claims in recent weeks, likewise deeming the claim a conspiracy theory during an appearance before Judiciary last week. He also accused Republicans of using “dangerous” rhetoric that amounts to an attack on the Justice Department.

And he penned an op-ed published Tuesday in The Washington Post warning that “the short-term political benefits of those tactics will never make up for the long-term cost to our country.”

But Republicans such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) argued Garland could crush the line of questioning by releasing the documents they’d asked for.

“You come in here, and you lodge this attack that it’s a conspiracy theory that there’s coordinated lawfare against Trump. And then when we say, ‘Fine, just give us the documents, give us the correspondence,’ and then if it’s a conspiracy theory that will be evident,” Gaetz said during last week’s hearing.

“But when you say, ‘Well, we’ll take your request, and then we’ll we’ll sort of work it through the DOJ’s accommodation process,’ then you’re actually advancing the very dangerous conspiracy theory that you’re concerned about.”

The concept has been refuted, however, even by those who have previously represented Trump on the case.

Joe Tacopina, who briefly worked on Trump’s legal team in the hush money case, recently said the Justice Department has “absolutely zero to do” with Bragg’s case.

“’Joe Biden brought this case’ is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard. We know that’s not the case. And even Trump’s lawyers know that’s not the case,” Tacopina said.

Uriarte’s letter notes the only coordination between any federal prosecutors and those working the New York case came after both Trump’s attorneys and Bragg’s team asked for documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

“Information-sharing between a U.S. Attorney’s Office and local prosecutors is standard and happens every day all over the country,” he wrote.

Updated at 9:21 a.m. ET

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