Mainstream Media supplements fake news with fake outrage over firing of US Attorney Preet Bharara
With the Trump administration only a few weeks old, a media template already has emerged for demonization. Impute sinister motives to any action of the reformist president, while ignoring precedents established by Democrat presidents doing the same thing. Over the weekend, a new phony non-scandal scandal has been created: we are to believe that a crusading prosecutor hot on the heels of Trump corruption has been fired before he can bring a case against he criminal inhabitant of the Oval Office. Or something like that.
The New York Times signaled to its fellow anti-Trump propagandists that it is time for synthetic outrage with this headline: “With Preet Bharara’s Dismissal, Storied Office Loses Its Top Fighter.” Until Friday, Bharara was the most prominent US Attorney because his jurisdiction, the Southern District of the State of New York, includes Wall Street. Bharara, like many of his predecessors, is believed to harbor ambitions for high elective office, and refused to resign when AG Sessions asked for resignations from nearly all of the sitting 93 US Attorneys, the federal prosecutors who decide which violations of federal law to prosecute. As any conservative who lived through the Bill Clinton presidency remembers, when Janet Reno was appointed his AG, she demanded and got the resignations of all 93 US Attorneys. But we are to believe that the Trump administration’s slightly less complete housecleaning is an outrage intended to cover up wrongdoing.
Bharara is being sainted now by the MSM as even-handed because his office has investigated and prosecuted politicians from both parties, including (cough!) New York Mayor Bill deBlasio, a highly unpopular Democrat who has become an embarrassment to the party, and whose office would make a great stepping stone for Bharara should he enter elective politics.
The problem with this narrative is that Bharara’s conduct in office is not the quite the story of a crusader. Don Surber explains:
Fake News outlets portray Preet Bharara as a "storied prosecutor" who went after Wall Street and political corruption.
They have it half right. He took down some crooked politicians, but when it came to Wall Street, he let the crooks buy the Department of Justice off. (snip)
Through Preet Bharara, Barack Obama sold Get Out Of Jail Free cards to corrupt CEOs on Wall Street.
Instead of doing time for their crimes, Bharara let their companies pay fines that went into a Department of Justice slush fund that then funded Obama's extreme radical lefty buddies.
The press has known about this pay-to-get-away scheme for years.
From the Daily Caller on August 7, 2012:
A new report from the conservative Government Accountability Institute (GAI) finds that President Barack Obama’s and Attorney General Eric Holder’s failure to criminally charge any top Wall Street bankers is likely a result of cronyism inside the Department of Justice and political donations made to Obama’s campaign.
Despite Obama’s and Holder’s “heated rhetoric” against Wall Street (in 2009, Obama blamed the 2008 financial collapse on “reckless speculation of bankers” while Holder charged that “unscrupulous executives, Ponzi scheme operators and common criminals alike have targeted the pocketbooks and retirement accounts of middle class Americans”), they haven’t “filed a single criminal charge against any top executive of an elite financial institution,” GAI wrote in its report, exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller.
As Don points out, nobody went to jail. Instead, the companies paid enormous fines, and made “contributions” to many left wing groups that the Obama administration liked, in lieu of other punishments. Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal explained the scam in 2015:
…the Justice Department…for 16 months has engaged in a scheme to undermine Congress’s spending authority by independently transferring dollars to President Obama’s political allies. The department is in the process of funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups, at least some of which will actively support Democrats in the coming election.
It works likes this: The Justice Department prosecutes cases against supposed corporate bad actors. Those companies agree to settlements that include financial penalties. Then Justice mandates that at least some of that penalty money be paid in the form of “donations” to nonprofits that supposedly aid consumers and bolster neighborhoods.
The Justice Department maintains a list of government-approved nonprofit beneficiaries. And surprise, surprise: Many of them are liberal activist groups. The National Council of La Raza. The National Urban League. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition. NeighborWorks America (which awards grants to left-leaning community organization groups, and has been compared with Acorn).
This strategy kicked off with the $13 billion J.P. Morgan settlement in late 2013, though in that case the bank was simply offered credit for donations to nonprofits. That changed with the Citigroup and Bank of America settlements, which outright required $150 million in donations. The BofA agreement contains a provision that potentially tees up nonprofit groups for another $490 million. Several smaller settlements follow the same mold.
So was Bharara a crusader or a bag man for leftist groups? I can’t regard him as a serious impartial reformer if he presided over what amounted to a shakedown to benefit left wing groups like La Raza (“The Race”).
Too bad for Bharara that he didn’t bring charges against deBlasio when he had the opportunity. That will make a run for mayor less winnable for him.