The relationship between President Trump and former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker soured late last year after the president sought to put an ally in charge of the investigation into hush money payments made by the president’s former lawyer to women claiming to have had affairs with Trump.
The New York Times reports that Trump wanted his friend and campaign contributor U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman to be in charge of the investigation that has lead to Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen’s incarceration.
Oh, and Trump wanted Whitaker to appoint Berman despite the fact that the attorney had recused himself from the probe. Because Trump doesn’t understand anything and refuses to listen to people who do, Whitaker was unable to get the president to comprehend that Berman couldn’t un-recuse himself. Trump reportedly grew tired of Whitaker, who’s now just a “former acting...” since William Barr was just confirmed as attorney general.
From The Hill:
Trump’s treatment of the Justice Department has raised red flags among Democrats who have expressed concern that his appointment of Whitaker, and later Barr, were intended to curtail special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump regularly decries that probe as a “witch hunt.”
Berman, a Trump ally who donated to the president’s 2016 campaign, recused himself from the investigation prior to an FBI raid of Cohen’s hotel room and office last April. Trump had interviewed Berman personally for the U.S. attorney job in New York’s Southern District in a break with traditional hiring practices for the role.
The Southern District’s investigation into Cohen resulted in the longtime Trump ally pleading guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. The latter charge was related to hush money payments made during the 2016 campaign to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump.
Cohen has since been sentenced to three years in prison for those crimes, as well as a charge of lying to Congress.
Trump now considers Cohen a “rat” as Trump continues to use the language of a mafia don who is watching his goodfellas go down.
Cohen is set to testify before Congress in the coming weeks, but who knows if that will ever happen as Trump’s former fixer, who once claimed that he’d take a bullet for the president, has already postponed his Congressional chat three times!