About a year and a half ago, Donald Trump controversially fired widely respected U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Since that time, Bharara has become a political pundit and something of a rock star in the political world, thanks to his sharp legal insight and his willingness to call Trump out on his antics. Here’s the thing: what you’re seeing on television tonight is precisely what Trump was trying to avoid when he fired Bharara.
Today’s Michael Cohen sentencing memo, which formally accused Donald Trump of instructing Cohen to commit felonies with the intent of altering the outcome of the 2016 election, was not issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Instead, it was issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which has federal jurisdiction over New York City, which has long been the epicenter of so many of Trump’s crimes. That office used to be run by Preet Bharara.
Donald Trump fired Bharara in the hope of compromising the SDNY’s ability to prosecute him and his henchmen like Michael Cohen. Trump replaced Bharara with his own handpicked nominee, Geoffrey Berman, a guy he thought would be willing to do his bidding. But Berman rather quickly recused himself from any investigations involving Trump. This has allowed the underlings at the SDNY to move forward and bring cases like the one they brought against Cohen.
In other words, Donald Trump brought a lot of heat for himself by firing Preet Bharara, and potentially got himself hit with yet another obstruction of justice charge, and it turns out he did it for nothing. Bharara got his revenge in the end, because the job he was trying to do at SDNY is still being done, and Trump can’t stop it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report