by Curt Anderson on August 11, 2021 2:56 pm
his decision to shut down an anti-corruption panel. Obama officials said nothing publicly about this for years, and decided only to speak their peace when Cuomo was unpopular and disempowered... --Donna
By Ronan Farrow
In April, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo placed a call to the White House and reached Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama. Cuomo was, as one official put it, “ranting and raving.” He had announced that he was shuttering the Moreland Commission, a group that he had convened less than a year earlier to root out corruption in New York politics. After Cuomo ended the group’s inquiries, Preet Bharara, then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, issued letters instructing commissioners to preserve documents and had investigators from his office interview key witnesses. On the phone with Jarrett, Cuomo railed against Bharara. “This guy’s out of control,” a member of the White House legal team briefed on the call that day recalled Cuomo telling Jarrett. “He’s your guy.”
Jarrett ended the conversation after only a few minutes. Any effort by the White House to influence investigations by a federal prosecutor could constitute criminal obstruction of justice. “He did, in fact, call me and raise concerns about the commission,” Jarrett told me. “As soon as he started talking, and I figured out what he was talking about, I shut down the conversation.” Although Cuomo fumed about Bharara’s efforts, he did not make any specific request before Jarrett ended the call. Nevertheless, Jarrett was alarmed and immediately walked to the office of the White House counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, to report the conversation. Ruemmler agreed that the call was improper, and told Jarrett that she had acted correctly in ending the conversation without responding to Cuomo’s complaints. “I thought it was highly inappropriate,” the member of the White House’s legal team told me. “It was a stupid call for him to make.” Ruemmler reported the incident to the Deputy Attorney General, James M. Cole, who also criticized the call. “He shouldn’t have been doing that. He’s trying to exert political pressure on basically a prosecution or an investigation,” Cole told me. “So Cuomo trying to use whatever muscle he had with the White House to do it was a nonstarter and probably improper.”
by Donna on August 11, 2021 3:17 pm
As long as our court system regards corporations as people, money as speech, and there are in effect no limits to how much "speech" "people" can deliver to politicians and political parties, our government will always be steeped in corruption.