How fearless is Donald Trump
Trump fires prosecutorDismissal without justification
Independent, combative, fearless - that is the self-image of the Manhattan federal prosecutor's office. The Trump administration felt the same when it tried to get rid of the chief prosecutor Geoffrey Berman over the weekend.
Mimi Rocah worked in the prosecutor's office for 16 years. She accused Attorney General William Barr at NPR of having something against traditional independence:
Barr not only wanted to fire a very competent prosecutor for no legitimate reason, he also lied about it.
(Evan Vucci / Anders Wiklund / AP / TT NEWS AGENCY / dpa) "The dirtiest election campaign you can imagine"
Whether Joe Biden has a chance in the fight for president depends on the course of the corona crisis and the economic data, said Rüdiger Lentz from the Berlin Aspen Institute in the Dlf.
Barr announced on Friday night that Berman had resigned. Berman countered that he learned of his own resignation from the media and is not thinking about it. Barr also does not have the authority to fire him. A reaction that was very well received by previous employees:
They are proud that Berman was telling the truth.
Investigations in Trump's environment
Barr then had to escalate and asked President Trump to fire Berman - the prosecutor accepted and passed the business on to his deputy.
The president officially has his fingers in the game. This is explosive because the attorneys in Manhattan are dealing with several cases that take place directly in Trump's environment. So they brought his former lawyer Michael Cohen to admission of guilt and, according to media reports, are investigating his current lawyer Rudi Giuliani. It's about Ukraine. Two of Giuliani's business partners have already been indicted by Berman's public prosecutor.
President Trump signed the dismissal, but tried to distance himself from it again. On Saturday, just before he left for his campaign rally in Tulsa, he said it was Barr's business, he wasn't involved.
Trump's defense attorneys pointed out that he had appointed prosecutor Berman two years ago. Republican Tim Scott said on ABC:
"Everyone in the Justice Department worked at the President's discretion."
Formally that may be correct, but critics point out that the Ministry of Justice and its employees should traditionally act independently. In addition, there has not yet been an official justification for prosecutor Berman to leave.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner railed at CBS that the case was another example of Justice Secretary Barr preferring to be Trump's personal attorney rather than the US attorney.
Acts in Trump's interests
Barr's critics accuse him of having acted mainly in Trump's personal interests from the outset: he played down the investigation report on the Russia affair, launched an investigation into the investigation to prove that the investigators had reservations about Trump. He overruled the prosecutors in the trial of Trump's friend Roger Stone and called for a lower prison sentence. He tried to drop charges against Trump's first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, despite the fact that he had pleaded guilty.
The Democrats now want to summon the newly dismissed prosecutor Berman in Congress. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said on ABC: "Berman can say a lot about chaos, crisis and corruption in the Trump administration."
Trump and his attorney general now have to campaign for votes in the Senate so that their new candidate for the Manhattan attorney's post can be confirmed. It's Jay Clayton, previously head of the SEC. According to media reports, he would like to go back to New York. He had previously worked as a lawyer there, including for Deutsche Bank. Which, in turn, had done business with Donald Trump for many years. Clayton has no experience as a prosecutor. According to the New York Times, he has played golf with the president on several occasions.
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