What Happened in New York?

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference about the apprehension of a suspect in the recent spate of mail bombings at the... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference about the apprehension of a suspect in the recent spate of mail bombings at the Department of Justice on October 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. Authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc in the attacks which targeted prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Let’s discuss this. There’s too little evidence here to support any clear theory. But given the current leadership of the Department of Justice, a hermeneutic of suspicion is called for. But consider these dates.

On Friday CNN reported that the US Attorneys Office in Manhattan appears to preparing to close its main investigation into the Trump Organization without filing any charges. Not every probe finds wrongdoing or chargeable offenses. But look at these two paragraphs …

In January, one month after Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison, prosecutors requested interviews with executives at the company, CNN reported. But prosecutors never followed up on their initial request, people familiar with the matter said, and the interviews never took place.

Meanwhile, there has been no contact between the Manhattan US Attorney’s office and officials at the Trump Organization in more than five months, one person familiar with the matter said.

Now consider two other dates.

US Attorney Geoffrey Berman had to recuse himself from the Trump-related investigations because of his ties to the President. Supervision was undertaken by the Deputy US Attorney Robert S. Khuzami. But he left the US Attorney’s office in late March of this year. A month earlier, Attorney General Bill Barr was sworn in. So Bill Barr was sworn in about exactly five months ago – which seems to be roughly the time of the last contact between the US Attorney’s office and executives of the Trump Organization.

Let’s pull this together.

April 2018 – Deputy US Attorney Robert Khuzami, supervising case after recusal of US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, signs off on raids of Michael Cohen’s home and workplaces.

December 2018 – Cohen sentenced to three years in prison.

January 2019 – US Attorney’s office requests interviews with Trump Organization officials. Office never follows up and interviews never take place.

February 2019 – Bill Barr sworn in as Attorney General.

Jan-Feb 2019 – Communications between US Attorney’s Office and Trump Organization executives ends.

March 2019 – Khuzami leaves government.

July 2019 – CNN reports investigation likely to end with no criminal charges.

To be clear, I am not aware of any reporting documenting any interference from US Attorney Berman, Attorney General Barr or anyone at Main Justice.

But given the Barr DOJ’s demonstrated record of consistently unethical behavior and more or less open efforts to protect President Trump, this requires some scrutiny.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Edblog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: