Yesterday, Bloomberg took a run at creating its very own Trump scandal with a story headlined Trump Urged Top Aide to Help Giuliani Client Facing DOJ Charges.
President Donald Trump pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the Justice Department to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was a client of Rudy Giuliani, according to three people familiar with the 2017 meeting in the Oval Office.
Tillerson refused, arguing it would constitute interference in an ongoing investigation of the trader, Reza Zarrab, according to the people. They said other participants in the Oval Office were shocked by the request.
Tillerson immediately repeated his objections to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly in a hallway conversation just outside the Oval Office, emphasizing that the request would be illegal. Neither episode has been previously reported, and all of the people spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the conversations.
The White House declined to comment. Kelly and Tillerson declined to comment via representatives. Another person familiar with the matter said the Justice Department never considered dropping the criminal case.
Zarrab was being prosecuted in federal court in New York at the time on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. He had hired former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Giuliani, who has said he reached out repeatedly to U.S. officials to seek a diplomatic solution for his client outside the courts.
The context of the request is that Zarrab is a Turkish citizen and Giuliani was working with Tillerson to try to broker an exchange of Zarrab for imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson.
So to recap the scandal.
- This is early 2017.
- Giuliani has Reza Zarrab as a client and at the time had no official connection to Trump.
- Turkey is holding American Andrew Brunson and has expressed an interest in trading him for Zarrab.
- Trump floats it idea to Tillerson that he should approach Jeff Sessions to have charges dropped so the trade can happen.
Tillerson says no.
- Tillerson tells Chief of Staff John Kelly no.
- Tillerson never talks to Sessions about it.
- Trump never talks to Sessions about it.
- Zarrab goes to jail.
- Nearly two years later, Brunson is released.
Should Trump have asked Tillerson to do this? I don’t know why not. Federal rules are not the same as private sector rules and the request parallels the same request Trump made of Comey in regards to Mike Flynn. Tillerson told him it was improper and the matter was dropped. Yes, the guy in question was a client of Giuliani’s but the real story is that swapping Zarrab for Brunson was already being considered by State and the only impediment was his indictment. If Trump had really been interested in helping Giuliani while using Brunson as cover, he could have announced a pardon for Zarrab. Ironically, had this story been changed just a little–Tillerson proposing pardoning Zarrab to facilitate a swap and Trump declining because it would be improper–the same assclowns who are upset over this would be using that story as an example of how Trump doesn’t care about everyday Americans.
This is just another great example of what passes for journalism these days. But it fits in well with the Bloomberg’s calculated political hit on Department of Labor official Leif Olson whose Facebook posts they edited to make him appear to be anti-Semitic.
Where in the past we’ve all joked about the media being an arm of the Democrat party, now it is becoming obvious that they are actually, literally, an adjunct to that party. They’ve protected Joe Biden on his Ukraine dealings and now they are trying to protect Elizabeth Warren from her lies about being fired from teaching because she was pregnant. These people are not to be trusted or believed on anything, no matter how insignificant the subject may be.