We may have an explanation for the inclusion of Preet Bharara among the 46 US attorneys suddenly fired last Friday. If so, then it’s not a good look on the Trump administration.
According to the New York Times, Bharara oversaw a fledgling investigation into Fox News, which has been Donald Trump’s most reliable television ally.
A federal grand jury is about to hear two witnesses with knowledge of how network head Roger Ailes was fired over sexual harassment lawsuits and whether the company tried to obscure its losses from investors. One of them is former chief financial officer Mark Kranz, who was forced into retirement a week after Ailes was forced out and presumably knows where such bodies are buried.
Not coincidentally, Bharara’s likely replacement is said to be a law firm partner of Trump campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani who also has the family of Jared Kushner, Donald’s son-in-law, for a client. Small world!
While that prominent post always gets attention, one candidate frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Mr. Bharara could sharpen the scrutiny to new levels: Marc L. Mukasey, a former prosecutor who now works in white-collar criminal defense.
As it happens, Mr. Mukasey has represented Roger E. Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News, who has long had a mogul-to-mogul relationship with Mr. Trump.
This would not be the first time that Trump has intervened to protect Ailes and Fox. As journalist Gabriel Sherman recounted last year, in 2014 the future president personally mediated a dispute between Ailes and his former public relations adviser, bragging that “When Roger was having problems, he didn’t call 97 people, he called me.”
If Trump did indeed mean to derail an investigation of Fox News, he has failed, and Preet Bharara’s resistance would be the reason. Rachel Maddow pointed out in her MSNBC broadcast last night that by refusing to resign on Friday, Bharara bought himself about 24 hours — just enough time to safeguard an investigation that Trump or his attorney general Jeff Sessions wanted to squelch.
A short time later, Lawrence O’Donnell presented breaking news about the New York Times story with Gabriel Sherman in the studio to explain that the newspaper’s sources are protecting the investigation. Watch:
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