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  5. Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan holds Manhattan hearing to blast DA's record on crime despite 73% higher murder rate at home

Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan holds Manhattan hearing to blast DA's record on crime despite 73% higher murder rate at home

Laura Italiano   

Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan holds Manhattan hearing to blast DA's record on crime despite 73% higher murder rate at home
  • Rep. Jim Jordan held a Manhattan hearing criticizing its 'soft-on-real-crime' DA.
  • The House Judiciary Committee hearing was met with pushback about crime in red states like Jordan's.

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan came to lower Manhattan on Monday to criticize what he called District Attorney Alvin Bragg's "soft-on-crime approach to the real criminals," but ended up facing hard-to-ignore facts about his own state's record on violent crime.

Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, conducted what protesters called the "sham" committee hearing after Bragg — who is Manhattan's first Black district attorney — became the first prosecutor to bring charges against Trump, a move that has sparked GOP outrage.

"Here in Manhattan, the scales of justice are weighed down by politics," Jordan said in his opening statement for a House Judiciary Committee hearing that focused on a crime surge that New York and other major cities suffered in 2022, Bragg's first year as DA.

"Rather than enforcing the law, the DA is using his office to do the bidding of left-wing campaign funders," said Jordan, the committee's chair.

Democrats repeatedly tried to interrupt the hearing with some inconvenient truths: crime stats that show that New York City is actually among the safest big cities in the country and major crime that is far higher in red states than in blue ones.

At one point, a Democratic committee member even stopped the hearing to demand the hearing be adjourned to higher-crime Ohio, Jordan's home state.

Ohio's homicide rate (8.7 deaths for every 100,000 residents) is 73% higher than Manhattan's (5.0 deaths per 100,000 residents), according to an analysis published by the New York Daily News on Monday.

"Mr. Chairman? Parliamentary inquiry?" Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline shouted, after anti-gun expert Jim Kessler concluded a recitation of statistics showing higher crime in red states.

"In light of the testimony we just heard," Cicilline asked Jordan about 90 minutes into the hearing,"what is the mechanism for the committee to transfer this hearing to Ohio, where the crime rate is significantly greater?"

There was a brief back-and-forth over whether Cicilline's request was a motion or a parliamentary inquiry.

"I'm asking how do we move the venue so we can have a hearing in a city or state that has a serious crime problem? The state of Ohio?" Cicilline persisted.

Jordan then told Cicilline that his time had expired and that his ruling cannot be appealed.

Sparks also flew just outside the hearing door, where protesters shouted, "The hearing is a sham!" and "Let the public in!" as Federal Protective Service officers held them back and ushered them toward an elevator bank.

Jordan and other Republicans didn't mention Trump by name on Monday. But Jordan in particular echoed the former president in condemnation of Bragg for his "radical political agenda" in the face of rising crime.

Jordan's statistics focused on 2o22, when crime rose in cities around the country, although murders declined that year in New York.

New York, however, is now witnessing a dip in major crime, as recently noted by Murders, robberies, rape and shooting incidents are all down in the city for the first three months of this year.

NYPD stats show that the first three months of 2023 have seen a decline in Manhattan crime compared with the first three months of last year.

Homicides are down 9%, shootings are down 14%, robbery is down 10%, burglary is down 23%, and transit crime is down 11.5%, Bragg tweeted Monday, citing NYPD numbers.

Last month, Kessler's center-left think tank, Third Way, published a report, "The Red State Murder Problem," showing that in 2020, per capita murder rates were 40% higher in states won by Trump than those won by President Joe Biden.

In a counterpoint statement at Monday's hearing, Rep. Jerrold Nadler — a Manhattan Democrat and Jordan's predecessor as Judiciary chair — mentioned Trump repeatedly, along with that downtick in his district's crime.

He accused Jordan of "playing tourist in New York" and pretending to care about crime while "doing nothing, nothing, to stop the gun violence that terrorizes our nation."

"Let me be very clear," Nadler began. "We are here in lower Manhattan for one reason, and one reason only. The chairman is doing the bidding of Donald Trump," Nadler said.

Bragg, too, has fought back against GOP criticism, particularly the Judiciary Committee's efforts to investigate and slow his prosecution of Trump.

Just two days after Trump was indicted, Jordan subpoenaed Mark Pomerantz — the former Manhattan prosecutor who led the Trump investigation under Bragg's predecessor — to appear before the committee for a deposition. Pomerantz wrote a book criticizing Bragg for failing to prosecute Trump more aggressively.

Bragg responded by suing Jordan and the House Judiciary Committee; his lawsuit seeks to block the subpoena and to stop Jordan's investigation.

"They are using their public offices and the resources of this committee to protect their political patron, Donald Trump," Nadler said of the GOP-led committee on Monday.

"You can pretend you are not here on Donald Trump's behalf," Nadler added. "But you cannot stop the New York criminal justice system from running its course and you will not intimidate New Yorkers with your brief visit to this city."

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