The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who was fired by President Donald Trump last weekend, was so despised by Vladimir Putin’s Russia that he was banned from entering the country in 2013. According to The New York Times, Russia banned Bharara and 17 other Americans in retaliation for U.S. sanctions over human rights violations. The Russian government reportedly targeted Bharara because of his prosecution of Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer. Bharara, who is known for investigating officials regardless of political party, also prosecuted three Russian nationals for acting as spies in 2015. “The arrest of Evgeny Buryakov and the charges against him and his co-defendants make clear that – more than two decades after the presumptive end of the Cold War – Russian spies continue to seek to operate in our midst under cover of secrecy,” Bharara said at the time. Bharara was fired by the Trump administration on Saturday after he refused to comply with a request to resign. It was not immediately clear if Bharara was involved in any current investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Surprisingly, Bharara had been personally asked to stay on by Trump last November. Not surprisingly, he had been investigating Fox News at the time of his dismissal. Without directly saying so, Bharara hinted that he may have been investigating Trump, too. Before firing Bharara, Trump tried to call him to thank him for his service, but Bharara refused to take the call without the permission of his superiors. It would have been a breach of protocol for the president to call a US Attorney directly, and it would have been extremely awkward if Bharara was, in fact, investigating Trump. That said, if he did open a formal investigation, his successor could choose to continue that investigation, but they would probably do so at their own peril. Just ask former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

This is an open thread. Have fun.

11 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 18th, 2017

    • That’s another reason why I think that Preet Bharara will become a central point in the overall case against trump and his minions. I hope that his name becomes a household word in the near future.

      I’m also wondering if he’s the one who sent trump’s 2005 tax return to David Cay Johnston, which Rachel Maddow discussed last week. The envelope was postmarked ‘Westchester NY 105’, meaning it was mailed from a Zip Code beginning with 105. Now, there’s not very many towns in Westchester County that have Zip Codes beginning with 105 – one of which is Chappaqua, where the Clintons live, but I think that might be too obvious and easily traceable by a persistent investigator. But Preet Bharara’s Wiki page lists him as living in Westchester County, so…

  1. The Zoo is alive!! And so am I, still, for a while.

    I would like to suggest that any Zooster with the ability to post to please post an Open Thread page if one has not appeared by 9 AM Pacific Time Zone . Nothing fancy, Just a Hello or Good Day will do. If a Zooster was scheduled to post and a Hello post appeared first either post your post and leave a comment that you did or wait for another day.

    I get worried when there are no posts for several days!

    • Sorry, I kept starting posts that I never finished – today’s was one of them that I started last weekend for Monday. I was sick and out of commission on Monday, then more info started coming out, and I decided to scrap it for the time being. Early this morning I started working on a new post, but my computer kept freezing up. I finally asked Wayne to try to update this one.

      Some of the above was supposed to be a block quote from one of the linked articles, but I’m not going to fix it at this point.

      Sorry to worry you – I’m certainly glad to hear that you’re alive, too, hopefully for many years to come!

  2. Owner of Phoenix Trump billboard: It will stay up as long as Trump is president

    A menacing Donald Trump is gazing down on Phoenix’s Grand Avenue.

    The president is flanked by mushroom clouds and swastikas configured like dollar signs.

    “I think a lot of people are feeling this way and I’m just trying to express what I think is on a lot of people’s minds these days,” the billboard’s artist, Karen Fiorito, said Friday in an interview from her California home.

    “Something that really concerned us was this idea of a dictatorship where things were going in a certain direction.”

  3. Hearings tomorrow:

    10 AM EDT House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, James Comey to testify.
    11 AM EDT Senate Committee on the Judiciary examination of Gorsuch for Supreme Court.

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