When Tom Barrack was indicted and arrested yesterday, it was primarily for crimes he allegedly committed a few years ago. So why did it take this long for the case to finally reach completion? Our initial presumption was that federal prosecutors didn’t bother, for fear that the Trump administration might get Barrack off the hook. It turns out it was even uglier than that.
CNN is reporting tonight that the EDNY’s case against Barrack was ready to go last year, but Richard Donoghue – the U.S. Attorney in charge of the EDNY at the time – put a damper on the whole thing. Bill Barr then promoted Donoghue to the position of Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.
This would lead a cynic to conclude that Barr had Donoghue put the kibosh on the Barrack case in order to help protect Donald Trump, and then Barr promoted Donoghue as a reward. Depending on how much of a quid pro quo this might have been, this is potentially getting into obstruction of justice territory.
It’s notable that someone involved in building the Barrack case is outraged enough about Donoghue’s attempt at getting Barrack off the hook, they’re now running to the media with what was really going on. So you can expect this to perhaps get uglier.
This also serves as the latest reminder that the Department of Justice already has an unknown number of criminal cases lined up against people in the Trump orbit – and that as 2021 goes on, we’ll no doubt see more of those cases brought to fruition. And if people like Tom Barrack, Rudy Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, and other Trump associates end up cutting plea deals, we could indeed be looking at a federal criminal case brought against Donald Trump himself.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report