The New York Post, Robert Abrams, DOJ discussed on The Lawfare Podcast
Recommendation of the career prosecutors. We will say publicly only that we have followed the recommendations of the career prosecutors. That's fair in leona helmsley case. The new york post broke the story robert abrams. The g. said he was going to investigate and rudy. Giuliani the us attorney for the southern district of new york at the time ran to the nearest camera and investigated to move faster ultimately than the state ag. I think clear evidence of a federal crime does put some pressure on the irs doj to do something but one of the ironies here. Is that the reason this case is in this. These offices to begin with is that doj didn't want to touch them. Which stoked fears of politicization of doj which in turn spurred these two offices to get involved which in turn have raised questions about politicization of those offices if merrick garland or or some acting is now to turn around and say well. They've you know hit painter here. We've got a get involved now. Doesn't that raise the reverse politicisation question precisely at a time. When garland is trying to actively de-politicize the entity. Yeah i mean. I think you know one of the things that happened over. The course of the four years of trump's presidency is that people who really liked to just keep their head down and do their work and that's the way. They maintain that they're not being political. Stop being able to do that. They had to keep their head down through their work and think about how to maintain their own legitimacy. And so that's screwed everything up because the way that you normally like to keep your legitimacy is what you just said garland wants to do which is just do what you know is normally done. Which is i just defer. But it's almost impossible as it was robert muller to to just put your head down and do your work and not think like how do i act to counter this narrative You know that. I'm just acting as a political actor. And so you know. I think throughout the federal government that happened and you're absolutely right that by Stepping in a sivan's in some way was responding to that and also Exposing himself to that. And you know throughout that whole litigation. Over and i'm sure Who's just like a great catalog of all these things would know specifically but in all of that litigation was just like time after time was the allegations of politicization. And now you have letitia. James who campaigned on the notion of arm after trump involved in this which exposes them even further To you know what i think are if not you know. I don't think they're legitimate. Claims that this is a political prosecution but they are unfortunately somewhat credible because of what she did. And so you know. I don't know the answer about what you do under those circumstances Uncharted territory. I don't know yeah. I i have a big problem with kiss james involvement in this after her campaign promises and statements and that said i look at the output of this investigation so far and it seems to me. It's been handled in a pretty responsible fashion. Which is to say. They opened an investigation. They don't seem to have leaked a whole lot. Despite the allegations to the contrary they litigated quite effectively the access to records issue to the supreme court they won. They got some material. They built a pretty professional team and now they've issued an indictment that a seems pretty substantial. How should we understand the institutional performance of these two offices so far quinta jump in short so second what everyone has said about general james's involvement. I think that's really striking. And really unfortunate. Potentially that she hasn't recused. I will say just to to live up to the expectation that has been set for me as an encyclopedia. I was struck by how At the arraignment today kerry done who is in vance's office gave a statement to the judge saying essentially. You know we're conscious that this case has been talked about as a political prosecution. That is not what we're doing. We take this very seriously. And i was struck by that first off. Because that's a interesting thing that he felt the need to say that but also that he had he was the person who argued this case before the supreme court and had a really striking exchange with if i remember correctly justice alito. Who essentially more or less accused advances office of leaking derogatory information to the press about the president and duns response kind of amused way was essentially explaining to the justice that it's illegal for them to leak grand jury information at nevertheless. I think that they're a note about that. Did make it into justice alito descent. But i think that's a good demonstration of how rebecca as you pointed out. The office has really been sort of walking a tight rope here in trying to figure out how to pursue this case. Well not making it look political on. That's just an incredibly hard thing to do. Rebecca are you basically impressed with how the case has been handled so far or basically unimpressed or is the jury no pun intended. Still out on that now. I mean so. Far i feel. I think it's impressive. I think it's done a really good job. I think this is a really good solid. Indict man i was to say one other thing about this question of politicisation which has to do with the history of the office. So one thing is if you remember. Sivan's has been accused of going too leniently in the white collar world i. He has the opportunity to pursue this particular investigation earlier on and then there is the whole question of unnop pursuing weinstein. So you know not that. That's a white collar crime but you know the sort of You know they're certain sorts of crimes that he has been accused of not being particularly aggressive about including ivanka trump by kuehnle and so the question is if he had a different track record if he were morgan. Saw who you know. Who is like fearless as i said it was like go after huge. Huge companies huge defendants. If we lose we lose. Let's get those facts out there. Let's deter this crime that that was him if he were here. I do think that he could have brought an more aggressive prosecution without it looking political because in some ways that was just his mo and so if the accounting fraud is really hard to prove and sivan's has to be cautious because in order to convince people that he's not motivated by the political identity and personal identity of the defendant. He has to be consistent and since his consistent is not particularly aggressive. He can't be particularly aggressive. So i don't know it's just it's just one thing to know is that i do think sivan's has done a good job here but i think it's a cautious you know. It's a cautious way of proceeding..