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BY BRETT SAMUELS – 09/14/22
Former President Trump is facing a new political quagmire as Senate Democrats open an investigation into allegations he pressured the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate his political opponents. Former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman wrote in a new book that the Justice Department under Trump pushed his office to pursue criminal cases against former Secretary of State John Kerry and others viewed as political opponents of Trump.
Democrats, who have been happy to elevate Trump and his conduct in the wake of an FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate, will look into the matter, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Monday night.
“I welcome the investigation,” Berman said Tuesday morning on MSNBC. “The conduct that occurred was so outrageous and unprecedented. A light needs to be shined on it.”
Berman, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) from 2018 until he was forced to resign in 2020, alleges in his new book that his office was pursuing charges stemming from a guilty plea by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
He also cited an investigation into former Trump White House official Stephen Bannon, who was eventually charged and later pardoned before Trump left office.
In another instance, Berman said the DOJ referred a criminal case targeting Kerry to his office days after Trump sent two tweets attacking Kerry for communicating with Iranian officials about the Iran nuclear deal.
The Justice Department suggested the SDNY cite Kerry using a statute from 1799 that had never been successfully prosecuted, Berman said Tuesday morning.
The allegations levied by Berman, who ultimately left his post after then-Attorney General William Barr told him he had been fired at Trump’s request, present the latest headache for Trump as he preps for a 2024 presidential campaign.