“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd questioned former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. over why his office didn’t prosecute Donald Trump before the ex-president’s indictment last week by Vance’s successor.
“Why didn’t you charge the hush money case? Why didn’t you ever charge it in 2018, 2019, 2020?” Todd asked Vance, who was Manhattan DA from 2010 until the end of 2021.
Vance said he had begun probing the hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels, but said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York caused his office to “stand down.”
“I was asked ... to stand down on our investigation, which had commenced involving the Trump Organization,” Vance said.
“As someone who respects that office a great deal and believing that they may have perhaps the best laws to investigate, I did so.”
The hush-money payoff was made ahead of the 2016 election, and many Republicans claim the current Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, has political motivations to indict the former president on such a dated offense.
Todd also pressed Vance about the uncertainties of prosecuting a hush-money payoff as a felony.
Vance noted that his office had filed cases of false documentation before and elevated them to felonies “when federal statutes were involved.”
“It’s never been done that I know of with regard to federal election law, which is quite a specific area of law,” Vance said. “But I think the question is not so much why didn’t I do it or we did it, but why this district attorney is doing it.”
“And that really requires us to be patient and to wait. This process isn’t going to be accelerated by us talking about it.”