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Judiciary to probe former US Atty's claims of political inte…

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작성자 Wally 작성일22-10-01 12:19 조회2회 댓글0건

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Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin announced that his panel will probe 'astonishing' claims by former US Attorney Geoffrey Berman about political interference from the Trump Justice Department.
The longtime Illinois revealed the investigation in a letter Monday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, where he ran through a series of allegations the Trump-appointed Berman included in his new book and in media interviews.
They include pressure to prosecute prominent Democrats, and even a push to pull back references to 'Individual-1' in a criminal information for longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. As Berman notes, that person has been identified as Trump himself. 
'These reported claims indicate astonishing and unacceptable deviations from the department's mission to pursue impartial justice, which requires that its prosecutorial decisions be free from political influence,' wrote Durbin, who took over the panel when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 89, stepped back.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said the Judiciary Committee . It is just one of a number of court battles that has dogged the former president since leaving office.
And Berman's account, in a book published this week, casts Bill Barr, Trump's attorney general, in a rather different light to the moral crusader he has claimed to be in recent TV appearances criticizing his former boss. 
Berman was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, leading some of the nation's most high-profile prosecutions and investigating several of Trump's allies, until he was fired in 2020.
In an interview on Good Morning America to promote his book, he described how he resisted some of the worst interference.
"I had never seen anything like Geoffrey Berman was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, leading some of the nation's most high-profile prosecutions, until he was fired in 2020
He said the Justice Department tried to get him to drop references to 'Individual-1' in its filings about the prosecution of Michael Cohen, the former president's fixer. 'Individual-1' was Trump
In particular, memek bernanah he described how the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., tried to get involved in one of his office's blockbuster prosecutions - the case of Cohen, who had been Trump's lawyer and fixer, and admitted responsibility for paying off women who claimed they had affairs with the then president. 
'In the first instance, on the eve of Cohen's guilty plea, main Justice tried to get our office to remove any reference to 'individual one' who was President Trump, and they were unsuccessful in that venture and they were unsuccessful in every attempt to politically interfere with our office,' said Berman. 
'We held the line in every instance.'
Prosecutors generally refrain from naming people who have not been indicted, and so 'Individual-1' duly appeared in court papers.
They said 'Individual-1 directed Cohen to make the payments, which should have been declared under campaign finance laws because their purpose was to help Trump win the election. 
During his appearance, Berman also said a Justice Department official had called his office to demand an investigation into Greg Craig, a former lawyer in the Barack Obama White House who was running for Congress.
'The Justice Department told us, 'Hey, you had just indicted two allies of the president - Chris Collins, who was a Republican congressman from upstate New York and Michael Cohen, who's the president's lawyer and fixer - and it's time for you guys to even things out and indict a Democrat before the midterm elections,'' he said.
He called his team together, he said, adding: 'My jaw dropped.'
'It was something we'd never heard or seen before,' he said.
He refused to take the case, and Craig was later charged by prosecutors in Washington, D.C., under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
In their filings, prosecutors alleged that 'Individual-1' directed Cohen to make payments to women, which should have been declared as campaign contributions 
Berman said his office was pressured to prosecute former Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Greg Craig, a former Obama White House lawyer Greg Craig who was later cleared
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He was acquitted. Berman, whose book 'Holding the Line' is published on Tuesday, said he was also pressured to go after Kerry.
'President Trump attacks John Kerry in two tweets, saying that Kerry engaged in possible illegal conversations with Iranian officials regarding the Iran nuclear deal. 
'The very next day the Trump Justice Department refers the John Kerry criminal case to the Southern District of New York - two tweets by the President, and the John Kerry criminal case becomes a priority for the Department of Justice. 
'And the statute they wanted us to use was enacted in 1799 and had never been successfully prosecuted. So in about 220 years, this criminal statute was on the books there were no convictions.'
Berman's book does not pull its punches in describing political pressure in the Department of Justice.
Yet he is a Republican and volunteered on Trump's 2016 campaign.
But after being fired, he describes Barr as a liar and a bully. 
'I would describe Barr's posture that morning as thuggish,' he writes about his dismissal. 'He wanted to bludgeon me into submission.'
He claims Barr told him: 'If you do not resign from your position, you will be fired. That will not be good for your resume and future job prospects.'

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