Saturday, May 13, 2017
I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion of this. Seems like a big deal:
May 12, 2017
Rod J. Rosenstein, Esq.
Deputy Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Dear Mr. Deputy Attorney General:
We, the undersigned, are former United States Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys for the Southern District of New York. In view of the recent termination of James Comey as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we are writing to request that you appoint a special counsel to oversee the FBI’s continuing investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election and related matters. This letter is addressed to you rather than the Attorney General since he has recused himself from this matter.
As you know, Jim has had a long and distinguished career with the Department of Justice, beginning with his appointment as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York serving under United States Attorneys Rudolph Giuliani, Benito Romano and Otto Obermaier from 1987 through 1993. He returned to the Southern District of New York in 2002 when he was appointed the United States Attorney and served in that capacity until he was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General in 2003. Most of us came to know Jim when he worked in the Southern District of New York. Many of us know him personally. All of us respect him as a highly professional and ethical person who has devoted more than 20 years of his life to public service.
While we do not all necessarily agree with the manner in which he dealt with the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, we sincerely believe that his abrupt and belated termination for this conduct, occurring months later and on the heels of his public testimony about his oversight of the investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, has the appearance – if not the reality – of interfering with that investigation. Even if this investigation continues unabated, there is a substantial risk that the American people will not have confidence in its results, no matter who is appointed to succeed him, given that the Director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the President. We believe it is critical in the present political climate and clearly in the public’s interest that this investigation be directed by a truly independent, non-partisan prosecutor who is independent of the Department of Justice, as is contemplated by 28 C.F.R. §600.1.
We are Republicans, Democrats and independents. Most importantly, we are proud alumni and alumnae of the Department of Justice. We do not suggest that you or any other members of the Department of Justice or a newly appointed Director of the FBI would not conduct yourselves properly, but the gravity of this investigation requires that even the appearance of political involvement in this investigation be avoided. As former prosecutors, we believe the only solution in the present circumstances would be to appoint a Special Counsel pursuant to 28 C.F.R. §600.1, and we urge you to take that course.
Jonathan S. Abernethy Elkan Abramowitz Richard F. Albert
Marcus A. Asner Martin J. Auerbach Miriam Baer
Thomas H. Baer Kerri Martin Bartlett Maria Barton
Andrew Bauer Bernard W. Bell Richard Ben-Veniste
Neil S. Binder Laura Gossfield Birger Ira H. Block
Suzanne Jaffe Bloom Barry A. Bohrer Daniel H. Bookin
Jane E. Booth Katharine Bostick Laurie E. Brecher
David M. Brodsky Stacey Mortiz Brodsky William Bronnermn Jennifer K. Brown Marshall A. Camp Bennett CapersMichael Q. Carey Neil S. Cartusciello Sarah ChapmanRobert J. Cleary Brian D. Coad Glenn C. ColtonWilliam Craco Nelson W. Cunningham Constance Cushman Frederick T. Davis John M. Desmarais Rhea Dignam Gregory L. Diskant Philip L. Douglas Sean Eskovitz Jesse T. Fardella Meir Feder Ira M. Feinberg Michael S. Feldberg Steven D. Feldman Edward T. Ferguson David Finn Eric P. Fisher Sharon E. Frase Steven I. Froot Maria T. Galeno Catherine Gallo Robert Garcia Kay K. Gardiner Ronald L. Garnett Scott Gilbert Barbara S. Gillers Mark Godsey Joshua A. Goldberg James A. Goldston Mark P. Goodman George I. Gordon Sheila Gowan Stuart GraBoisPaul R. Grand Helen Gredd Bruce Green Marc L. Greenwald Jamie Gregg James G. Greilsheimer Jane Bloom Grise Nicole Gueron Barbara Guss Steven M. Haber Jonathan Halpern David Hammer Jeffrey Harris Mark D. Harris Roger J. Hawke Steven P. Heineman Mark R. Hellerer William Hibsher Jay Holtmeier John R. Horan Patricia M. Hynes Linda Imes Douglas Jensen James Kainen Eugene Kaplan Steven M. Kaplan William C. Komaroff David Koenigsberg Cynthia Kouril Mary Ellen Kris Stephen Kurzman Nicole LaBarbera Kerry Lawrence Sherry Leiwant Jane A. Levine Annmarie Levins Raymond A. Levites Donna H. Lieberman Jon Liebman Sarah E. Light Jon Lindsey Robin A. Linsenmayer
Edward J.M. Little Mary Shannon Little Walter Loughlin
Daniel Margolis Walter Mack Kathy S. Marks
Mark E. Matthews Marvin S. Mayell Sharon L. McCarthy
James J. McGuire Joan McPhee Christine Meding
Paul K. Milmed Judith L. Mogul David E. Montgomery
Lynn Neils Peter Neiman Rosemary Nidiry
Tai H. Park Robert M. Pennoyer Elliott R. Peters
Michael Pinnisi Robert Plotz Henry Putzel
T. Gorman Reilly Emily Reisbaum Peter Rient
Roland G. Riopelle Michael A. Rogoff Benito Romano
Amy Rothstein Thomas C. Rubin Daniel S. Ruzumna
Robert W. Sadowski Elliot G. Sagor Peter Salerno
Joseph F. Savage John F. Savarese Edward Scarvalone
Kenneth I. Schacter Frederick Schaffer Gideon A. Schor
Julian Schreibman Wendy Schwartz Linda Severin
David Siegal Marjorie A. Silver Paul H. Silverman
Charles Simon Carolyn L. Simpson David Sipiora
Dietrich L. Snell Peter Sobol Ira Lee Sorkin
David W. Spears Katherine Stanton Franklin H. Stone
Richard M. Strassberg Howard S. Sussman Erika Thomas
Richard Toder Timothy J. Treanor Paula Tuffin
Peter Vigeland David Wales Max Wild
Samuel J. Wilson Elaine Wood Paulette Wunsch
Thomas Zaccaro Ellen Zimiles
cc: Jefferson B. Sessions III, Esq.
Attorney General of the United States
Bmaz at Emptywheel writes:
This letter reflects the signers’ personal views, not of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Department of Justice, or any other government agency.
But it is STRONG. And it is hard to not love it completely. It is raw, and it is real. Nobody asks defense attorneys to sign these missives, nor would anybody give them credit for having done so, were they asked.
This letter, however, is from the elite of the elite prosecutors, with SDNY historic names attached to it (and sometimes significant family names you may not notice), and there are a LOT of them. Almost wonder who did “not” sign on to it?
So, what does it mean?
A LOT. If you know how District level US Attorney offices run, but especially the hallowed ground in SDNY, then you know just how unusual and remarkable is this collective letter.
Think I mentioned “stunning” earlier. It is all that.
Why? Because the problem in the US is here, and it is now. It is bigger than Red versus Blue. It is bigger than Me versus You. It is bigger than all that. There is a fracture in the very machinery governance itself runs on.
The clockworks of governance are buggered. “We are Republicans, Democrats and independents.” And we all deserve better than the orange narcissist piloting the nation into an iceberg.
As Bmaz points out, these aren't bleeding heart defense attorneys. They are all former federal prosecutors. This is not business as usual, people.
digby 5/13/2017 12:00:00 PM