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HEADLINE ROUNDUP: Jim Jordan Holds Latest Partisan Stunt To Defend Trump In Manhattan Field Hearing

Apr 17, 2023

On Monday, Jim Jordan held yet another partisan stunt field hearing, this time about a supposed wave of violent crime in Manhattan—even though violent crime rates are demonstrably higher in other major cities and even in Jordan’s own district. MAGA Republicans chose to hold this hearing for one reason alone: to attack the district attorney who indicted former president Donald Trump on felony charges. Jordan has completely abandoned conducting any legitimate investigations, and this hearing has only further demonstrated that House Republicans are more concerned with launching political stunts than public safety or the rule of law.

New York Daily News (Opinion): Jim Jordan’s Phony Hearing Is The Real Offense: Attacking Donald Trump’s Prosecutor Alvin Bragg Rather Than Probing Crime Is The Goal. “Bragg’s policies have improved public safety in America’s largest city, which continues to be one of the safest big cities in the country. Crime is a serious issue. As former prosecutors, we care deeply about protecting victims while producing safe and healthy communities. Violence and disorder must be addressed. But this hearing has little to do with public safety and everything to do with smearing the prosecutor who indicted former President Donald Trump. What are the facts? Crime has risen in New York, as it has everywhere in the country since 2019. But even with these increases, this remains one of America’s safest big cities. Of the 50 largest municipalities, it has the sixth lowest murder rate. Bragg took office in January 2022. Since then, shootings in Manhattan declined by double digits, and homicides fell 15% — a faster drop than in the city as a whole. CompStat data, too, shows that as of mid-April, five out of seven major crimes are lower in Manhattan now versus last year. Crime is too high, but it is headed in the right direction.” [New York Daily News (Opinion), 4/16/23]

Gothamist: GOP Has Cast NYC As A Crime-Ridden Hellscape. Data Is Countering The Narrative. “Now, as Bragg leads the prosecution of former President Donald Trump, the Republican-led committee is pushing ahead with a hearing that promises to put the issue on a national stage. The committee is making no secret of its agenda, with an official advisory promising the event will examine how Bragg’s ‘pro-crime, anti-victim policies have led to an increase in violent crime and a dangerous community for New York City residents.’ It all comes despite what crime data shows: New York City is one of the safest big cities in the U.S., with per-capita violent crime rates below many of the nation’s other large metropolises, such as St. Louis, Missouri. That’s what makes Monday’s hearing particularly vexing to crime data experts like Christopher Herrmann, an associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who said he believes it’s ‘much more political than it is meant for crime prevention and crime control purposes.’ […] And New York City’s murder rates are well below those of cities like Columbus, Ohio — near the home of Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee’s chair — which had a murder rate three times as high per 100,000 residents as New York City’s in 2022, a statistic Bragg’s office recently pointed to. ‘They’re picking on (Bragg’s) policies and they’re highlighting some of the victims of crime, and you can do that anywhere,’ Herrmann said. ‘If you want to compare cities, then let’s compare cities and let’s figure out which city is safer than the other city. And there’s no doubt in my mind that the numbers for New York City and for Manhattan specifically are much lower.’” [Gothamist, 4/16/23]

New York Daily News: Ohio Murder Rates Far Higher Than NYC As State’s GOP Rep. Jim Jordan Slams City’s Crime Woes. “Before Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan gavels into order a House Judiciary Committee hearing Monday aimed at shaming New York City’s crime problem, he might consider a deep look at the far higher murder rates of his home state. Ohioans are more likely to die from gun violence than New Yorkers — and the state’s overall murder rate far exceeds that of New York City and of Manhattan alone, a Daily News analysis of federal Centers for Disease Control data shows. In 2021 — the last year for which reliable data is available — homicides accounted for 8.7 deaths for every 100,000 Ohio residents. That homicide rate was 73% higher than Manhattan’s homicide rate of 5.0 deaths per 100,000 residents. Ohio’s statewide homicide rate is 49% higher than New York City’s overall rate of 5.8 homicide deaths per 100,000 residents, The News’ study found. Ohio’s homicide rate is also 87% higher than New York’s statewide rate of 4.6 homicides per 100,000 residents.” [New York Daily News, 4/17/23]

The Plain Dealer: Jim Jordan Holds New York Crime Hearing To Embarrass Trump Prosecutor. “House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan took his political roadshow to New York on Monday to hear testimony from witnesses who claim the prosecutor who charged ex-President Donald Trump with falsifying business records routinely ignores and mishandles street crimes. […] Democratic committee members and New York Mayor Eric Adams said Jordan is the one who is playing politics by trying to intimidate District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Trump’s behalf. They said if Jordan and other Republicans really wanted to fight crime, they would act on gun safety legislation such as banning assault weapons and cracking down on ‘ghost guns’ that are made with 3-D printers. Nine out of 10 of the city’s illegal guns come from outside the state, they said. ‘This outrageous abuse of power is, to use Chairman Jordan’s favorite term, a weaponization of the Judiciary Committee,’ its top Democrat, Jerrold Nadler of New York proclaimed at a press conference with Adams before the hearing. As the hearing kicked off, demonstrators outside the room who carried signs that declared Jordan a ‘sleazy liar,’ ‘traitor’ and ‘insurrectionist’ could be heard shouting ‘the hearing is a sham.’ Pro-Republican spectators in the hearing room cheered loudly for the witnesses several times, even though Jordan asked them to stop and threatened to eject them.” [, 4/17/23]

CNN: House GOP Escalates Defense Of Trump With New York Field Hearing Seeking To Discredit Manhattan DA. “House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are exemplifying the lengths they are willing to go to discredit Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s criminal case against former President Donald Trump with a Monday New York field hearing on Bragg’s home turf. The hearing, billed as focusing on crime in New York, comes as the legal drama between Bragg and House Republicans has intensified in recent days. Bragg sued House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan and sought to block him from taking certain investigative steps, arguing that Congress doesn’t have oversight authority over state-level criminal prosecutions. It also serves as the latest example of how Trump continues to wield enormous power on Capitol Hill as House Republicans seek to curry favor with the former president, coming to his defense through their investigations and routinely updating him and his closest advisers on their progress. In the wake of his indictment, Trump called up members of House GOP leadership and key committee members to shore up support on Capitol Hill, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.” [CNN, 4/17/23]

Washington Post: ​​In Defense Of Trump, House GOP Targets Bragg With A Hearing On N.Y. Crime. “[New York Mayor Eric] Adams called the planned hearing ‘really troubling,’ saying Jordan was leading a ‘junket to do an examination of the safest big city in America.’ Adams said lawmakers should focus on be the proliferation of guns coming into New York from elsewhere, an issue he said Republicans have failed to address. That point has also stressed during the hearing by one of the Democratic witnesses, Rebecca Fischer, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. She said that New York ranks 47th out of the 50 states in gun violence. ‘But New Yorkers are still being killed and injured by shootings each year,’ she said. ‘And that is because of the national gun trafficking crisis. The national gun trafficking crisis is largely the result of weak gun laws in other states and the fact that Congress has not enacted federal gun violence prevention reforms.’ The hearing included claims and counterclaims about the nuanced state of crime in Manhattan. Another of the Democratic witnesses, Jim Kessler, senior vice president for policy of at the think tank Third Way said horrible crime does occur in New York, ‘a massive city of 8.5 million people piled atop each other on a speck of land, barely 300 square miles in size.’ But, he said, ‘the fact is that New York City is not only safer than most large cities in America, it is safer than most cities of any size. And on a per capita basis, New York City is safer than most of the states of the members sitting on the dais.’” [Washington Post, 4/17/23]

New York Daily News Editorial Board: Talking Loud, Saying Nothing: The Idiocy Of Today’s Anti-Alvin Bragg Republican House Judiciary Show Trial. “Welcome one and all to Jim Jordan’s carnival, the off-key partisan clown show in which the logical contortionists on the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee descend on Manhattan for a “field hearing” to argue that while District Attorney Alvin Bragg is prosecuting Donald Trump for financial crimes, he’s blithely letting murderers, gun-toting and assailants and rapists roam free. To put this as politely as possible, that’s a steaming pile of garbage. […] While New York City’s homicide rate in 2022 was 5 per 100,000, and Manhattan’s was 4.8, below the national average of 6.9, Columbus — just south of Jordan’s suburban Ohio district — had a homicide rate of 15.7. Denver, near committee member Jim Buck’s district, had a homicide rate of 11.9. In 2022, New Orleans, not far from the district of committee member Mike Johnson, had the nation’s highest homicide rate, at 70 per 100,000 residents. When will Jordan schedule a committee field in his own backyard or the backyard of one of his fellow Republicans? We’ll wait.” [New York Daily News Editorial Board, 4/17/23]

ABC: Jordan, House Republicans Hold New York City Hearing To Focus On Crime, Attack Bragg. “House Republicans have taken their attack on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to New York City, holding a hearing on what they say is a local crime crisis, a move Democrats have lambasted as a ‘political stunt.’ GOP Rep. Jim Jordan convened the House Judiciary Committee Monday morning at the Jacob Javits Federal Building — just around the block from the Bragg’s office. Earlier this month, he brought up former President Donald Trump on a 34-count indictment, drawing fire from Republicans who claimed he should be focused on city crime instead. The committee said said [sic], witnesses would tell lawmakers how ‘Bragg’s pro-crime, anti-victim policies have led to an increase in violent crime and a dangerous community for New York City residents.’ Among the witnesses were Jose Alba, a former bodega clerk who faced a murder charge after fatally stabbing an attacker in 2022; Joseph Borgen, the victim of an antisemitic attack in Times Square; as well as Madeline Brame and Jennifer Harrison, two women impacted by violent crime who’ve become advocates for victims rights in New York. Harrison recently told Fox News that crime victims are ‘distraught’ over Bragg’s leadership.” [ABC, 4/17/23]

New York Times: How Jim Jordan, a Fighter Aligned With Trump, Wrestled His Way to Power. “On Monday, Mr. Jordan will convene his panel in New York to battle Mr. Bragg on his own turf, in a hearing that aims to spotlight crime in the city on his watch. Mr. Jordan has accused Mr. Bragg of advancing ‘radical pro-crime, anti-victim policies’ while pursuing a case against Mr. Trump that he claims constitutes ‘interference’ in the 2024 presidential race. It is the sort of theatrical maneuver for which Mr. Jordan, who almost always eschews a suit jacket and speaks in a rapid, auctioneer-like cadence, has come to be known. Over eight terms in the House, Mr. Jordan, who served for a decade in Ohio’s Statehouse before winning election to Congress, has not been the lead sponsor of a single bill that became law, earning him a perennial ranking from the Center for Effective Lawmaking as among the least effective members of Congress. (Mr. Jordan’s aides argue he influences bills in committee without putting his name on them.) Mr. Jordan is also the chairman of a powerful new subcommittee created at the insistence of right-wing Republicans to scrutinize what they call the ‘weaponization’ of government against conservatives, which has yet to produce any new bombshell revelations. That is despite weeks of investigation, a budget of nearly $20 million and scores of staff aides working to uncover wrongdoing. But he measures success in other ways. No single member of Congress has done more to push House Republicans to the right, forcing more mainstream and establishment figures in the party to cede ground to the archconservative wing.” [New York Times, 4/16/23]