Former DOJ Lawyer Geoffrey Berman Can't Stop Won't Stop Kicking Bill Barr In The D*ck
Geoffrey Berman, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is on a one man mission to stick a shiv in Bill Barr's rehabilitation tour. Barr, the former attorney general, spent two long years ratfucking the Justice Department for a criminal lunatic, up to and including trying to Saturday Night Massacre SDNY to get Berman out and put in someone who'd be more amenable to White House political directives. So Berman is not about to let that low rent Fred Flintstone sumbitch pretend to be the voice of reason for simply pointing out over a year later that fomenting a coup is bad actually.
Yesterday that mission took Berman to Nicolle Wallace's set at MSNBC, where he told the "Deadline White House" host:
I think we should look at people prior to the November 2020 election, right? When Trump lost the election, I think a lot of people went through a personal calculus of their personal self interest. And after the election, and after Trump lost, Barr and others scurried off the ship. But I think we should examine whether they followed their oath prior to the election. That's the inquiry that's important to me. And prior to the election, Barr did the bidding of the president, and he politicized the Department of Justice. And Barr couldn't have done what he did without the help of others in the Department of Justice.
And by "others" he means the Justice Department lawyers who refused to participate in an actual coup, but had no qualms about turning the DOJ into a tool for the president to punish his enemies and reward his friends. Particularly Richard Donoghue, the former deputy attorney general who played a starring role in the House January 6 Select Committee hearings about Jeffrey Clark's efforts to make himself acting AG and empower swing state legislatures to claw back the electoral votes won by Joe Biden.
Because before Donoghue moved over to Main Justice, he was the US Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, from which perch he tried to help Barr bone the campaign finance investigation into Michael Cohen's payments to Stormy Daniels and the National Enquirer to bury stories of Trump's extramarital affairs. Barr had put a hold on the investigation in February of 2018 to see if he could find some way to undermine it, as Berman describes in his book Holding the Line: Inside the Nation's Preeminent US Attorney's Office and Its Battle with the Trump Justice Department
"While the case was shut down during that two-month period, I get a call from one of Bill Barr's aides, Seth DuCharme, and he says, 'Geoff, I spoke to the attorney general, Rich Donoghue is going to be overseeing the campaign finance violation cases that you are recused from,'" he told Wallace.
Berman was recused from the investigation, having participated in Trump's campaign, and thus his career staff were handling the case. But Barr came up with a plan to have his pal Rich, a US Attorney from a totally separate jurisdiction, come in and take over the case.
"I said, 'Seth, that's not going to happen.' And he said, 'You don't understand, this is not a request by the attorney general, this is a directive from the attorney general.' And I said 'Seth, Rich Donoghue is not stepping foot in the Southern District of New York.' And the conversation ended."
Berman describes similar political interference in the prosecution of Turkey's Halkbank for evading sanctions to buy Iranian oil on the cheap. Thanks to Raw Story for transcribing this part for us!
"So Turkey owns 51 percent of Halkbank, so for all intents and purposes, it is a state bank. And we were looking into — we had already gotten convictions against officers of Halkbank for sanctions evasion, in advantage of Iran sanctions," Berman told Wallace.
He went on:
At the time, that is when the government was trying to put maximum pressure on Iran to bring them to the table to get the best deal possible. And here is Halkbank funneling money to the Iranians. So, it really undermined a huge diplomatic effort by the United States. And we were — we had already gotten a guilty verdict against a bank official and we turned our attention to the bank and we were looking at criminal charges against the bank and this is where, you know, my conflict with Barr became, I think, the most intense ... because Barr wanted to pursue what he called a 'global settlement' which was not only a sweetheart deal for the bank, but letting — giving non-prosecution agreements for all of the other individuals who were involved and part of our investigation.
LOL, flashback to June 2020 when Maggie Haberman and Mike Schmidt reported that Bill Barr was shocked and appalled that Trump would play footsie with dictators like Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Guess not!
Asked by Wallace about the impact of the meddling, which included directives to investigate John Kerry for the crime of criticizing the pullout from the Iran nuclear deal and also to prosecute former White House Counsel Greg Craig for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act to even the scales after the Justice Department prosecuted Republican Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, Berman pulled no punches.
"The pattern is horrendous. It's the politicization of the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is supposed to be independent. The cardinal rule is that partisan political concerns are not supposed to enter into any decision making. And that rule was repeatedly violated," he said.
"Bill Barr should have been standing in front of those doors at the magnificent Department of Justice stopping political interference from entering. And instead he was the chief architect of that interference," he said, twisting the knife.
Looks like that Bill Barr rehabilitation tour is going to have to go back to rehab. Or to hell because GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, WE ALL SAW WHAT YOU DID.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.