Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) accused Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) of “doing the bidding” of former President Trump during the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on violent crime in Manhattan on Monday.
The GOP-led committee announced the field hearing in New York City shortly after a grand jury empaneled by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) voted to indict former President Trump.
“We are here today in lower Manhattan for one reason and one reason only: the chairman is doing the bidding of Donald Trump,” Nadler said in his opening remarks. “Committee Republicans designed this hearing to intimidate and deter the duly-elected district attorney of Manhattan from doing the work his constituents elected him to do.”
The hearing — titled “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan” — came nearly two weeks after Trump traveled to New York City and pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Congressional Republicans have turned their attention to Bragg, arguing he is prosecuting Trump for partisan reasons while failing to crack down on crime.
Three GOP committee chairmen launched an investigation into Bragg even before Trump was indicted, and Jordan has since expanded the probe.
He escalated those efforts on Monday, holding the hearing in Bragg’s backyard. Nadler argued that the GOP’s moves against Bragg are meant to protect Trump.
“They are using their public offices and the resources of this committee to protect their political patron, Donald Trump,” Nadler said. “It is an outrageous abuse of power.”
“It is, to use the chairman’s favorite term, a weaponization of the House Judiciary Committee,” Nadler added, making reference to the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which Jordan also chairs.
He accused Republicans of using the committee to “undermine” the legal process Trump faces, calling it “cynical, unethical, and given the violence unleashed on the Capitol by the former president, just plain dangerous.”
Throughout the hearing Monday, Republican lawmakers discussed crime in New York City, arguing that Bragg is responsible for the violence. Witnesses included a father whose son was the victim of an antisemitic attack and the mother of a homicide victim.
“Our witnesses today have felt the effects of crime up close and personal. They’ve been victimized by a justice system that cares more about political correctness than punishing the criminals who’ve harmed victims and harmed their family,” Jordan said in his opening remarks.
“In this country, justice is supposed to be blind, regardless of race, religion or creed. However, here in Manhattan the scales of justice are weighed down by politics. For the district attorney justice isn’t blind; it’s about looking for opportunities to advance a political agenda, a radical political agenda,” he later added.
Nadler, however, accused Jordan of using violent crime as a “pretext” for going after Bragg.
“We all grieve for the victims of violent crime here in Manhattan and everywhere. But it is shameful that the Republicans on this committee would use the pretext of violent crime as an excuse to play tourist in New York and bully the district attorney,” he said. “It is particularly disgraceful that they would use this pretext after doing nothing, nothing to stop the gun violence that terrorizes our nation.”