Pre-Order Your Copy



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Nothing to See Here

Washington is abuzz after the Saturday Night Massacre in which the Trump administration abruptly fired all 46 remaining U.S. attorneys general. The federal employees, fired without warning, were given 24 hours to clear out their desks interrupting many ongoing cases as no replacements were named. But keep moving; there’s nothing to see here.

Attorneys general are political appointees which means they are subject to the whims of partisan politics. When a new president is sworn in, political appointees routinely submit their resignations and the president selects those, if any, he chooses to retain. President Trump acted completely lawfully in firing all 46 U.S. attorneys general. Keep moving; there’s nothing to see here.


It’s unheard of to throw the U.S. justice system into a state of turmoil by firing all of the attorneys general without having lined up replacements for them. At best, ongoing legal cases and investigations will be delayed substantially until replacements are appointed and have time to be brought up to speed on all the open matters; at worst, ongoing investigations and lawsuits may be dismissed as the clock runs out on them, or due to failure to prosecute, especially should the eventual replacements choose not to pursue some of these matters.


Shortly after his election, President Trump met with New York Atty. Gen. Preet Bharara at Trump Tower in New York City and told Bharara he could stay on as attorney general. In fact, Trump went so far as to suggest Bharara hold a news conference following the meeting making the announcement, which he did. Retaining Bharara was not only a smart move but it was good politics.  Bharara has established a reputation as an honest, fair, legal bulldog who had prosecuted Wall Street crooks and indicted 17 prominent New York politicians without regard to partisanship: although appointed by a Democratic president, 10 of the 17 politicians he indicted were Democrats. Still, nothing to see here; keep moving.


No one was calling to remove Preet Bharara – perhaps because of his nonpartisanship in his prosecutions;  or his efficiency; or his doggedness in pursuing justice no matter how difficult the case or how prominent the target. He was that rare example of a public official who excelled at his job, and despite having been a political appointee, conducted himself in a nonpartisan manner. So it was odd that President Trump decided to fire him, especially after having assured him his job was secure. And especially as no one was calling for his removal.


For Fox News commentator Sean Hannity. Two days before the firing, the Fox showman publicly urged Trump to fire all the Obama holdovers, including Bharara. Much has been written about Trump’s obsession with right-wing media and his religious viewing of Fox news shows. Many pundits have speculated Hannity’s plea was the impetus for Trump’s surprising action. Bharara was investigating Fox News over its alleged failure to inform shareholders about multiple legal settlements concerning sexual harassment and assault allegations against former Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes and other executives. Nothing to see here; keep moving.


A leading contender as the Trump administration’s choice to replace Bharara is Marc Mukasey, the son of former U.S. Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey, a Bush appointee and prominent criminal defense attorney whose client list includes… Roger Ailes. If Marc Mukasey does end up with Bharara’s job and decides to continue the Fox lawsuit it could make for interesting conversation around the family dinner table. Nothing to see here; really, keep moving.


The New York state attorney, whoever he may be, has jurisdiction over criminal legal matters arising in New York State and that jurisdiction includes the Donald J. Trump Foundation in Woodbury, New York and Trump Tower in Manhattan: home of the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team, and the Trump organization. All of which does not mean Donald Trump might have any motive to remove an investigative bulldog to prevent him from digging up bones in his backyard. Absolutely nothing to see here; keep moving.


For the Russians. German bank Deutsche Bank was fined $630 million over a $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme after enabling some of its Russian clients to transfer rubles out of the country and into offshore accounts and then convert those rubles into dollars. Deutsche Bank is also the largest known lender to Donald Trump's businesses, having loaned the Trump empire hundreds of millions of dollars.  Preet Bharara was conducting an investigation into Deutsche Bank – the operative word being “was”. Donald Trump fired him.

Rumors that Bharara was fired because of the Fox investigation are likely merely a smokescreen, perhaps even advanced by the Trump administration with the help of Hannity. As all good reporters know, if you want to get to the truth of the matter, follow the money. And in all matters Trump, follow the money… and the Russians.

Nothing to see here. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller: “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.”

No comments:

Post a Comment