Americans are reeling from a recent New York Times article outlining how Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice by asking Matt Whitaker to put Geoffrey Berman in charge of the SDNY’s Trump investigation. This alone is considered grounds for impeachment and is one example of how Trump has attempted to rig the investigation in his favor.
Trump’s inappropriate request not only reveals his backwards logic and lack of integrity, it also shines a light on Geoffrey Berman, the current U.S. Attorney for the SDNY. Berman recused himself from the investigation early on, as he had supported Trump’s campaign. Berman even did some part-time volunteer work for Trump during the transition period. As a known associate of Trump’s, Berman had to recuse himself due to a conflict of interest.
Trump’s approach to installing Berman at SDNY, and later trying to reinstall Berman after he recused himself, shows a scary lack of judgment. Repeatedly, our puppet “president” has disrespected our judicial system and the intelligence forces of the United States, illustrating his overall contempt for the democratic rule of law. When Trump took office, he first fired the SDNY U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara. There were murmurings at the time that Trump was “setting up” the very office that would eventually be in charge of prosecuting him for his crimes. He wanted to stack the deck in his favor, or in other words, cheat his way through his reckoning.
After ridding the department of the trustworthy Bharara, Trump took a departure from tradition and personally interviewed Berman for Bharara’s job. Trump wanted his friend in charge of the SDNY, thinking Berman would later save Trump from prosecution. Trump was too ignorant of the law to understand how this action would automatically render Berman neutralized, due to the nature of their personal relationship.
Still, it was not enough to stop Trump from stupidly incriminating himself further, by asking Whitaker to put Berman in charge of the investigation anyway. When Whitaker could not make good on Trump’s request because Berman had recused himself, Trump turned on Whitaker, seeing him as incompetent. It seems there are two major lessons to be learned here. First, Trump’s train of logic is severely derailed. Second, Geoffrey Berman should be investigated as a known associate of a dangerous criminal. That dangerous criminal is Donald Trump.