Tuesday the New York Times published a detailed piece entitled, “Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him.”
According to the article citing, “several American officials with direct knowledge of the call,” President Trump called Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and asked “whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation.”
As the article notes, assigning Berman was not an option for the Acting Attorney General as, “Mr. Berman had already recused himself from the investigation.”
The Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec told the New York Times, ““Under oath to the House Judiciary Committee, then Acting Attorney General Whitaker stated that ‘at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation or any other investigation,’ Mr. Whitaker stands by his testimony.””
The White House did not comment for the article.
As the article explains President Trump has publicly attacked the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian Election Interference Investigation “more than 1,100 times since 2017.
Aside from the Mueller investigation the article points out “there are at least two other federal inquiries that touch the president and his advisers — the Manhattan investigation focused on the hush money payments made by Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, and an inquiry examining the flow of foreign money to the Trump inaugural committee.”
The journalists, Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt, take a detailed look at:
The firing of National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who is cooperating with Mueller, has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, and who is expected to be sentenced in the coming months.
Into the “boiling frustration” that President Trump has expressed over Mueller’s appointment, the recusal of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the personal attacks that followed that rescusal.
Congressional allies such as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and their belief that, “the president’s allies in Congress needed a coordinated strategy to fight back against an investigation they viewed as deeply unfair and politically biased.”
How last April President Trump hired friend and ally former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani in order to “combine a legal strategy with a public-relations campaign in an aggressive effort to undermine the credibility of both Mr. Mueller and the Justice Department.”
The FBI raids, arrest, and eventual guilty plea from President Trump’s onetime lawyer Michael Cohen.
The appointment of Matt Whitaker to replace the resigned/fired Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, here the article notes, “there is no evidence that he took any direct steps to intervene in the Manhattan investigation. He did, however, tell some associates at the Justice Department that the prosecutors in New York required “adult supervision.”
The journalists also note the information they have reported was based on, “reviewed documents and conducted several dozen interviews with current and former government officials, members of Congress, legal experts and more.”
The President when asked if he directed Whitaker to appoint Berman to the Cohen Investigation the President is quoted as saying, “no, not at all, I don’t know who gave you that. That’s more fake news.”
One of the journalists who worked on the story Maggie Haberman explained via tweet that the White House was “fully briefed,” on the story prior to publication.
Opinion: This story is not independently confirmed by other outlets at this time, for what it’s worth, the public statements regarding President Trump noted anger at the investigations surrounding his Presidency and his administration is widely known public information. Also, if and I stress the if he asked Whitaker to assign Berman, this would align with President Trump asking then FBI Director James Comey to “back off Flynn,” when the FBI was conducting their investigation into whether or not Flynn lied to them about his contracts with Russia something Flynn has now admitted too and pleaded guilty.