Berman Prelude

Originally posted on June 25, 2020

While researching the Berman debacle, I was reminded that this was not the first time Barr/Trump have played games with U.S. Attorneys. Along with the SDNY in New York City, the D.C. office in Washington D.C. is the main office where politics-inspired crimes are likely to be investigated. The D.C. office is also the largest district office, with about 300 prosecutors.

Jessie Liu became the U.S. Attorney in D.C. in September 2017. Before that she had a long career in both private and government legal circles. She was a Trump supporter, working on his transition team after his election. While serving as the U.S. Attorney she oversaw a number of, say we say, politically-sensitive cases.

The Mueller investigation had spun off a number of cases, including Roger Stone and Andrew McCabe. In both of these she went against the wishes of Trump: she didn’t interfere to save Stone and she exonerated McCabe. Obviously, she had to go. Trump transferred her to the Treasury Department and then pulled her nomination there, leaving her unemployed. Nice work.

She was replaced by Timothy Shea, who was a Barr confidant. Shea was just interim, only serving from February to May 2020. Just long enough to call for the dismissal of charges against Michael Flynn and pressure prosecutors for a lighter sentence for Roger Stone. Shea in turn was replaced in May 2020 by yet another interim Attorney, Michael Sherwin. He was best known for obtaining the conviction of a Chinese woman for trespassing at Mar-A-Lago.

Career attorneys are really getting fed up with the injection of politics into the Department of Justice. And this was before Berman’s firing in June 2020. One has to wonder just how deep the rot goes.

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