Bharara Cautions Resistance: It's Not the Southern District's Job to Get Rid of Trump

April 2, 2019

Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara advised opponents of President Donald Trump Tuesday not to put their hope into being "delivered from him" by law enforcement officials.

Bharara appeared on Deadline: White House and cautioned the "resistance" to focus on defeating Trump in the 2020 election. Many progressives were already disappointed last month with the report that Mueller's probe would produce no further indictments and cleared Trump on collusion with Russia in 2016.

"I also want to caution people. Maybe not everyone will love hearing this," Bharara said. "Lots of people don't like the president, think he should not be president, and they want to be delivered from him, and I get that, and I may be one of those people also. It doesn't mean that you're going to be delivered from that in some place other than the ballot box. It doesn't mean you're going to be delivered from that by Bob Mueller, as good as he is, because his job was not to get the president."

"The Southern District's job, the place I used to lead, is not to get the president," he added. "Maybe they'll find evidence of a crime, maybe they'll think they have something to say in a courtroom, whether it's about the hush money payments or something else or the Trump Organization, but if people don't like the direction of the country and they think we're moving away from the ideals of the country should be about, whether it's on immigration or decency or rule of law, then they should set their sights and their energy on doing things politically."

His tone appeared different than last month, when he said the Mueller probe's conclusion did not mean Trump was out of the woods.

"I don't think people should be taking victory laps, or jumping off bridges, depending on their political viewpoint, based on the face that the Mueller report has been concluded and there's no indictments," Bharara said on CNN. "But Donald Trump is not out of legal jeopardy and the Southern District of New York did not have the narrow mission that the special counsel had."

Bharara called the Southern District's attorneys "aggressive" and "fair-minded" Tuesday as he promoted his new book Doing Justice.

"If they find things they think are wrong and cross the line into criminality they will say so and bring the cases against the president themselves with the policy," Bharara said. "And if they don't, they'll do the right thing there, too, and walk away. They are not going to be swayed by public opinion and by any blood lust or any sort of penchant for forgiveness because people like the president."

The SDNY is investigating the Trump Organization and his inaugural committee, and it also prosecuted Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen for several crimes, including hush payments he claimed to have made to porn actress Stormy Daniels at Trump's behest.

MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace, whose program has focused relentlessly on the investigations into Trump and his orbit, told Bharara she didn't believe the "resistance" thought federal prosecutors would "deliver us from Trump."

"I think there's a hope that no one's above the rule of law," she said.