Home U.S. NEWS Maddow Blog | Why didn’t Trump’s trial start years earlier? Bill Barr is to blame for this

Maddow Blog | Why didn’t Trump’s trial start years earlier? Bill Barr is to blame for this

Maddow Blog |  Why didn’t Trump’s trial start years earlier?  Bill Barr is to blame for this

A few hours before the start of his first criminal trial Donald Trump asked a question via his social media platform. “Why didn’t they file this completely discredited lawsuit seven years ago???” the former president asked. “Election interference!”

For now, let’s not dwell on the Republican’s obvious errors of fact and judgment, including the fact that the criminal case was “completely discredited” only in his active imagination. Let’s also ignore the fact that the defendant has taken various steps to further delay the trial, which has put Trump in a position where he believes the case is moving both too slowly and too quickly.

Instead, let’s consider his question on the merits.

After all, it’s easy to imagine some fair-minded observers wondering the same thing. The alleged misconduct in this case is unrelated to the 2024 election cycle and the 2020 election cycle and stems from actions Trump allegedly took in 2016 and 2017.

Why is the case against the presumptive Republican nominee only now entering the courtroom? As it turns out, we know the answer — even if Trump doesn’t like to talk about it.

To recap: As Election Day 2016 approached, Trump and his political organization were concerned about the public learning about his alleged sexual encounter with a porn star named Stormy Daniels. With these fears in mind, the then-candidate and his team founded a shell company that was Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohenpaid off Daniels and thus bought her silence.

Soon after, according to prosecutors, Trump falsified business records while simultaneously making additional payments to Cohen to compensate the lawyer for the scheme.

These are the same payments that ultimately landed Cohen in prison, raising the obvious question of why he, and not his former client – identified in court documents as “Person 1” – faced serious consequences. Eventually, Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes he committed in coordination with Trump and provided evidence of checks signed by Trump.

As Rachel explained on last night’s show, the federal prosecutor overseeing the Southern District of New York at the time was Geoffrey Berman – a lifelong Republican who worked on the Trump campaign and the Trump transition, and who was Trump’s handpicked for the office became . It was Berman who later wrote a book about his experiences and shed light on the events in the Cohen case.

In fact, Berman said, after his office secured Cohen’s guilty plea, Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C., began intervening in matters in New York City, effectively trying to end the chaos between Trump and Cohen.

Berman even went so far as to claim that after Bill Barr became Trump’s attorney general, “not only did he try to stop the ongoing investigation, but – incredibly – he suggested that Cohen’s conviction on campaign finance charges be overturned.”

Berman’s office was ordered to halt “all investigative work” into the allegations until Barr and his team were satisfied that there was a legal basis for the campaign finance allegations to which Cohen had already pleaded guilty. The prosecutor wondered at the time whether the then-attorney general was trying to shield Trump from potential legal liability after he left office.

That is, Barr and his team directly intervened in an ongoing federal criminal investigation involving the then-president who appointed Barr. As part of that intervention, Berman’s office was also ordered to remove damaging references to Trump in court filings.

As if that weren’t enough, Trump’s Justice Department also directed Berman to investigate Democrats who had not committed crimes. When the prosecutor resisted, Barr told the public that Berman had resigned. He didn’t have that. Shortly thereafter, Trump fired him.

But while the then-Attorney General and his team intervened in a case involving their boss, the result was that local prosecutors’ investigations were delayed as they deferred to their federal counterparts.

Eventually, Trump’s Justice Department quietly announced that it was no longer investigating the allegations in the Cohen case, and two weeks later, prosecutors in New York began issuing subpoenas.

Why is the former president’s case only coming to trial now? In part because the Trump administration politicized the legal process and perverted a federal investigation without justification.

The former president has the entire scandal in mind. He believes the real controversy is that the case was not prosecuted sooner. In fact, he would have been prosecuted sooner if partisans on his team had not manipulated the trial on his behalf.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com


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