Trump Interviews U.S. Attorney Candidates in NYC

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President Trump has personally interviewed at least two potential candidates for U.S. attorney positions in New York, a move that critics say raises questions about whether they can be sufficiently independent from the president, reports Politico. Trump interviewed Geoffrey Berman of the law firm Greenberg Traurig for the job of U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ed McNally of Kasowitz Benson Torres for the Eastern District post, sources said. A White House official noted that, “he and other presidents before him and after may talk to individuals nominated to positions within the executive branch.”

The Southern District of New York has jurisdiction over Trump Tower. Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney there, tweeted that, “It is neither normal nor advisable for Trump to personally interview candidates for U.S. Attorney positions, especially the one in Manhattan.” It is rare for a president to interview candidates for the 93 U.S. attorney jobs. Former President Obama never interviewed a U.S. attorney candidate during his two terms, said Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman in the Obama administration. Trump met with Jessie Liu, then a candidate for U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, a position she now holds, this spring. “To be very blunt, these three jurisdictions will have authority to bring indictments over the ongoing special counsel investigation into Trump campaign collusion with the Russians and potential obstruction of justice by the president of the United States,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told Politico. “For him to be interviewing candidates for that prosecutor who may in turn consider whether to bring indictments involving him and his administration seems to smack of political interference.”

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